Innovation That Matters

The Ocean Cleanup sunglasses with case and pouch — both made with recycled materials | Photo source Ocean Cleanup

Sunglasses made from recovered ocean plastic


Ocean Cleanup has released a pair of designer sunglasses, its first product made from plastic retrieved from the ocean

Spotted: The Ocean Cleanup is a nonprofit engineering environmental organisation based in the Netherlands, currently developing technology to extract plastic pollution from the oceans and rivers. But the non-profit aims to do more than remove plastic waste: they want to develop a circular economy for ocean rubbish to go “full circle from trash to treasure,” by creating and selling products made from the recovered plastic, in order to finance further plastic recovery.

Ocean Cleanup has just released its first product — a pair of sunglasses designed by Yves Béhar, made from plastic collected from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a vast collection of around 79,000 tonnes of plastic. The product is designed with easily-removable hinges that allow the components to be easily disassembled for repair and recycling so that they don’t end up back in the Garbage Patch at the end of their life.

The glasses have a classic, angular shape, and the recycled plastic giving them a softer feel, while the somewhat thicker frame makes them more durable. They also feature a deep, navy blue colour, and distinctive turquoise hinges. Béhar says the colour was chosen to “embrace the natural, raw iridescence of the blue material, as for me it mimics the beauty of the sea and says something about the material’s origin.”

Béhar often works on projects with an element of sustainability or social responsibility, and he points out that, “With The Ocean Cleanup plastic, it became clear that what is called ‘trash’, is actually a valuable material that can be used for complex as well as beautiful applications. The design effort became a way to prove this point: how could we design something that becomes an instant proof that what we throw away is a precious resource with great potential?”

We have previously covered Ocean Cleanup’s innovative attempts to reduce the amount of plastic in the oceans and they are being joined by more companies every day who are working to remove plastic from the oceans. Some of those efforts recently covered by Springwise include a device that attaches to sailboats and collects microplastics and the use of autonomous drones to collect rubbish from the ocean floor.

Written By: Lisa Magloff

Explore more: Retail Innovations | Fashion & Beauty Innovations



Download PDF