South Florida-based environmental entrepreneur Zachary Kirstein has launched a new social-business enterprise venture aimed at solving the planet’s ocean-bound plastics crisis through the collection, cleaning and recycling of pollution into sustainable packaging.
With headquarters in Deerfield Beach and its first processing facilities in the Dominican Republic, ORG is the first joint-venture between 4G Recycling, one of the nation’s oldest and most successful recycling and waste-management businesses, and Miami-based AE Global, a multinational end-to-end packaging solutions company.
ORG’s focus is to reduce the quantity of ocean-bound plastic that ends up in the Caribbean, on shorelines throughout the Western Hemisphere, including here in South Florida.
On Earth Day earlier this month, ORG teamed with the non-profit Clean Miami Beach in a cleanup along the iconic sand of Miami Beach. More than 60 volunteers collected 1190 pounds of plastic and other debris.
Billions of pounds of plastic end up in the world’s waters each year, says Kirstein, citing studies that estimate that there are now up to 51 trillion pieces of plastic in oceans around the globe.
“Our oceans and earth are at crisis levels with the amount of plastics and other pollutants streaming into them,” Kirstein said. “All of us need to do our part, and we believe ORG can make significant impact as we scale up as a successful social-business venture.”
In addition to his role at ORG, Kirstein remains president of 4G Recycling, a business founded by his great grandfather Phillip Kirstein more than 100 years ago, and which continues to grow and thrive as an industry leader and innovator.
For 2022, 4G is on track to earn more than $100 million in revenues while recycling 600,000 tons of materials by the end of the year.
Kirstein is a member of Entrepreneurs’ Organization South Florida, and credits the group with helping him manage the broad responsibilities of running multiple companies. He says EO is a fantastic example “gestalt protocol” in learning and leadership through collaboration and sharing experiences.
“Having such an incredible network of entrepreneurs to learn from and grow is exceptionally valuable,” he says. “Among so many lessons, my EO brothers and sisters have shown that authenticity is key to the development as a leader.”
Some favorite advice he likes to share with his EO peers is to “take the stage,” and never turn down an opportunity to push yourself outside your comfort zone. “You’ll be glad you did.”
EO SOFLO is one of the largest EO chapters in the world. The local group has almost 300 members in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties who run businesses with more than 10,000 employees and $2 billion in annual revenues.
“Zack embodies all the values of EO, especially our mantra to ‘leave a mark’ on the world,” said Jason Loeb, current EO SOFLO president and founder of Sudsies dry cleaning company. “In this case he’s helping us leave less of a mark on our oceans for a cleaner, better planet. We look forward to Ocean Recovery Group scaling fast and finding great, sustainable success.”