Meet Jim Mullen: Surfer Turned Environmental Cleanup Innovator | Wave Makers

December 21, 2021

Dive into the blue tech frontier with Wave Makers!

Welcome to the first episode of Wave Makers! Tamara here, and I’m kicking off with a conversation with Jim Mullen of Earthwise Sorbents. Former professional surfer and musician turned environmental cleanup warrior, the CEO of Arctic Foam talks about the challenges of dropping in on a billion-dollar industry. Sorbents are used to clean up oil and chemical spills in a wide range of industries. You see them all the time even if you don’t realize it (Think: paper towels). Most of the effective available sorbents are made from virgin polyurethane and polypropylene materials. Many alternative products do not perform up to necessary industry standards and ultimately cost more in disposal fees. Earthwise Sorbents out of San Diego, California, has developed an array of highly effective sorbent products made from RECYCLED and REPURPOSED foam and fabric materials. Jim tells me how excited he is that Earthwise products have been tested compared to standard products and demonstrate equivalent or better absorbency! We dive into the happy accident, the motivation that led him to start this company, and the teamwork driving it forward. We also discuss some of the chop startups face as far as funding and credibility as they strive to make impactful change.

Jim Mullen shredding waves on his way to becoming the CEO of Earthwise Sorbents.

Show Transcription
This transcription was generated by a computer. Please excuse any errors.
Tamara Kahn

Before diving into promoting the incredible innovations of the ocean and water industry, Tamara spent a decade ocean bound for weeks at a time, working with state-of-the-art geophysical sensors in some of the most challenging environments, the salty depths of the world’s oceans. She enjoyed managing projects with advanced technology and collaborating with a diverse workforce and clientele, but her international travels made her witness to some of the worst challenges facing humanity, from ocean pollution to water scarcity. She resolved to pivot her career into sustainability and ecological resilience. Since earning a Masters of Advanced Studies in Climate Science and Policy from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Tamara develops and facilitates programs that enable STEM students, researchers, policymakers, government officials and tech companies to form mutually beneficial partnerships, innovating and collaborating internationally towards sustainable solutions. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in Geological Sciences from the University of Texas at Austin and contributes technical knowledge along with expertise in strategic collaboration and a zest for innovative thinking. Tamara is most happy near a body of water, relishes any chance to SCUBA and loves learning new languages and cultures.