Sea2See Turns Tons of Plastic Waste into Trendy Sunglasses

It’s hardly news to say that our oceans are in a sad state of environmental affairs. The latest reports note an estimated 8 million tons of trash are added to the earth’s oceans every year. It’s a difficult problem to solve, but not an impossible one. Sea2See has devised a clever solution that involves a few hundred Catalan fishermen and the world’s eternal need for swanky new sunglasses.

Barcelona-based Sea2See has secured agreements with more than 20 ports in Catalonia, Spain. In addition to their daily fishing expeditions, Catalan fishermen are also now on the lookout for plastic waste — tons of it. Every three days, in fact, the fleet recovers an entire ton of solid plastic detritus from the waters around the Spanish coast. It all comes in the form of nets, ropes, and general plastic trash, and is deposited into large containers in several Spanish ports.

The collected “treasure” is then sent to Sea2See to separate and process. The company determines what they can personally use and what needs to be resold. For every 10 kilograms (more than 22 pounds) of waste Sea2See recovers, the company can produce a single pair of Italian-designed sunglasses. Whatever plastic isn’t recycled into sunglasses is repurposed into other reusable raw materials like nylon threading. In total, more than 90 percent of the content they recover is recycled into new goods.

Our oceans are literally drowning in plastic waste. By 2050, it’s believed the seas will contain more plastic than fish. At least for now, it seems the only solutions are coming from the bottom up, from grassroots organizations intent on doing something — anything. Upcycling the Oceans, for example, is a similar worldwide initiative that works with fishermen throughout the Mediterranean and in Thailand. Their mission centers around collecting and repurposing plastic trash into eco-conscious clothing, footwear, and accessories, like backpacks.

Sea2See’s sustainable eyewear is available in a variety of trendy men’s and women’s styles directly from the online store. The sunglasses are also sold at brick-and-mortar outlets throughout Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, and, of course, Spain. The company is working to expand their retail network into Australia and the United States.

Feature image courtesy of Sea2See/Facebook.