Sea2See is the Barcelona-based brand recycling plastic pollution and turning it into chic sunglasses and opticals you'll want to wear. We now know it takes a minimum of 450 years and a maximum of well, forever, to break down discarded plastic. And while the fashion and beauty industries are making moves to tackle the colossal problem — think Adidas' recycled ocean plastic trainers and the banning of microbeads in your beauty products — we still have a long way to go before we make real headway with the issue.
“I’ve lived a lot of my life by the sea, around the oceans,” the company's founder Francois Van den Abeele told the Independent in an interview Monday. “So I’ve been aware of the problem for some time.” Working with Catalonian port authorities, Sea2See employs local fishermen to collect the plastic that's accumulated in trawling boat nets. According to the Independent, the waste is then divided between what can be made into eyewear and what can be sold off to other companies that recycle. For every 10 kilograms [22 pounds] of plastic brought in from the ocean, one pair of glasses can be made; given that more than eight million tons of plastic are thrown into our seas each year, this project looks like both a sustainable and vital one.
"The spirit of Sea2See is to create a global consciousness in regards to the issue of sea contamination through a stylish product that anyone can wear with pride," the company's site reads. "We are proving that waste can be transformed into a fashionable quality product." So how does the process from collection to product work? One ton of plastic waste is collected every other day and taken to the plant, where it's manually separated. Next, the selected waste is recycled into reusable raw material that is used to produce the glasses. All the recycled material is quality tested in the lab, before frames are handmade in Italy.
So what does Sea2See's offering actually look like? From classic square-framed sunglasses to aviator-style opticals, its range is as contemporary and cool as our favorite eyewear brands. Our top pick? The So-Fly Havana Shine. Currently only available in Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium, we'll be waiting for Sea2See to expand globally — and hoping that other labels take heed and adapt their own methods to benefit our planet.