Designer Life
FRANÇOIS VAN DEN ABEELE, SEA2SEE sustainable eyewear

Feature Story
February 24, 2020


François van den Abeele worked previously for many years making documentaries in places such as Angola. He has lived a lot by the sea and has developed a passion for sustainable efforts and work to implement the circular economy and protect the planet. Today he has settled in Barcelona with his family.

BARCELONA PIONEERING WORK TO RECYCLE OCEAN PLASTIC

Sustainable eyewear brand Sea2see continues to create optical frames and sunglasses made from 100% recycled marine plastic such as abandoned fishnets. The label was first set up in 2016 by François van den Abeele, an entrepreneur with a deep passion for oceans and nature.
Today his mission is to create a global consciousness about sea contamination through stylish products that anyone can wear with pride. Sea2see started its operations through agreements with port authorities in Catalonia, and now works through more than 37 ports in Spain and France collecting 500 kg of plastic waste per day. The company was able to assist fishermen across the region bring in around a tonne of plastic waste every three days.
Sea2see separates what it can use for the glasses and the rest is sold off to other companies for use in different processes. The success of the company has led to a fast expansion to initiate the collection of waste further afield in areas that are seeing a horrifying level of waste on beaches, including Ghana, West Africa and Madagascar.



“We are doing things differently! Sea2see
is the first eyewear brand that uses 100% marine plastic waste as a raw material.
500 kgs of waste are collected each day... this waste is turned into beautiful fashionable frames, made 100% in Italy...”

Actor and environmentalist Javier Bardem made a surprise appearance at a Spanish port to meet Sea2see and the local fishermen to see how they’re making waves in the global fight against ocean plastic waste. The frames have also made an appearance at the UN conference in New York in 2017. “Foreign Affairs Minister Didier Reynders used them as an example of how we can tackle pollution in the sea.....Sea2see is an example of a circular economy that’s working in favour of the ocean.”



“Saving our ocean is all about team work, and it wouldn’t be possible without the
help of the amazing fishermen who collect plastic and fishing nets to give it a second life...”

Collecting plastic in Ghana

Creating value out of waste in order to generate a new source of income for local communities.

Sea2see has set up an abandoned plastic fishnets collection program in Ghana which aims to create awareness about the issue of ocean contamination and provide a new source of income for the local collectors. The program will involve thousands of fishermen over 3 regions (West, Central and Volta) in 11 points of collection. The company has been able to collaborate with rePATRN, a local experienced PET waste collector.


Samuel is one of the Sea2see ambassadors, responsible for the West Region, based in Elmina, Ghana. He is responsible for collecting, sorting and cleaning what the local fishermen bring him. His objective is to gather 16.000 Kg of plastic per month.

THE EYEWEAR

Sea2see have over 135 designs in their collection, both sunglasses and optical frames – now sold in over 2850 optical stores around the world. The plastic waste is up-cycled into a reusable raw material: UPSEATM PLAST Cradle to CradleTM Gold Certified.
The end product is produced in Italy and the collection includes a range of cool classic eyewear shapes such as square frames, aviators and wayfarer style products. The collection is sold in around 350 stores across Europe and 125 in North America. The frames are also available on cruise ships and in some luxury hotels and the intention is to expand to Australia and India as soon as possible.

Sea2see has opened its first store in Barcelona, Spain this year following steady growth and expansion of its work and its growing recycled collections.
The shop is located at Carrer Major de Sarria, 67 and stocks the complete 100% marine waste collection of more than 135 models of frames for kids and adults, ophthalmic and sunglasses, all made 100% with certified recycled marine plastic.

www.sea2see.org

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