Barcelona-based company, Sea2See, has been sending dozens of fishing boats into the ocean to collect plastic waste, in order to transform it into recyclable designer sunglasses.
With permission from the Catalonian port authority, 22 ports allow the company and the fishermen to travel across the region to gather around one tonne of plastic waste every three days.
Around 10kg of waste is collected for a single pair of glasses the company sells.
Sea2See separates the waste into plastics that can be used for the glasses, and then sells the rest to other companies to use it for various processes, including manufacturing nylon thread.
Over 90% of the material that the fishermen gather can be recycled, with the usable plastic being changed into pellets, which are then melted and used to make the glasses.
Sea2See founder Van Den Abeele told the Independent that the idea of Sea2See emerged due to being concerned with Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s concern about there being more plastic than fish by 2050, as well as wanting to help implement a circular economy.
He said: “Eyewear is a €100bn-plus industry with big profit margins. The whole product is made of plastic, which can take hundreds of years to biodegrade, and yet almost nothing is being done about sustainability.”
Sea2See glasses are on sale in Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium, with the founder already in negotiations to expand company into Australia and the US.