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GVSU students aim to clean up Great Lakes with new sustainable clothing company

Forever Great makes shirts entirely from recycled plastics.

ALLENDALE, Mich. — It started last fall, on a day at the beach.

"We were walking along the beach at Rosy Mound in Grand Haven and we just came across all the plastic strewn across the beach," said Jack Kleinrichert, co-founder of Forever Great. "The idea was just kind of born from there."

Friends Kleinrichert and Chad Howell decided right there to make a difference. Last week, their new clothing company Forever Great launched on Earth Day to great results.

"We broke even on our first day, which was pretty huge for us," said Kleinrichert.

Forever Great makes shirts entirely from recycled materials, specifically water bottles. The duo hopes one day to use plastics pulled exclusively from the Great Lakes.

"They're cleaned, then they're melted and strewn into a polyester yarn fabric and that is woven straight into the t-shirts," explained Kleinrichert.

And the customers can feel good about their purchase as well. The company's Give Great Initiative gives money back into cleaning the lakes.

"We give 8 percent of our profits to Alliance for the Great Lakes, a non-profit that works on all the lakes," said Howell.

Both born in Michigan, and spending a lot of time on the water, Jack and Chad hope to use Forever Great to keep the lakes clean for future generations.

"Whether you're seeing it every day or not, there are these issues and getting that message across is what we're really looking to do," said Howell.

Forever Great also plans to organize clean up events later this year.

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