We at The Optimist Daily have been following The Ocean Cleanup project since its first plastic-capturing voyage back in 2019. From that point forward, we’ve enjoyed reporting its progress, from removing plastic debris from rivers to eventually becoming the largest trash-collecting system of our time.
In 2022, The Ocean Cleanup has reached another milestone: proving that it can create value out of the pollution they take out of the ocean. The non-profit successfully transformed the trash into a valuable treasure by turning the material into high-quality sunglasses that consumers could purchase.
Not only did this recycle the trash, but it gave people a tangible way to continue supporting The Ocean Cleanup financially. In fact, the sunglasses quickly sold out, and all the proceeds went directly into the project’s ongoing cleanup operations in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP).
The material for the sunglasses came out of the project’s first-ever ocean plastic capture mission. The Ocean Cleanup worked with experts to develop a desirable product that also adhered to the standards set by the independent certification body DNV. This ensured that the ocean plastic used to make the sunglasses could be traced all the way back to the point it was removed from the ocean.
Since The Ocean Cleanup is primarily focused on cleaning our oceans, future products will not be made by them, but by other companies who are committed to making durable products out of properly recycled plastic. The sale of The Ocean Cleanup sunglasses helped raise the funds to clean over 500,000 football fields worth of ocean.