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Sea Clearly

These Costa sunglasses made from recycled fishing nets will help you see a cleaner future for the ocean.

It’s no secret the ocean is full of garbage. Over 1 billion pounds of abandoned fishing nets enter the oceans every year, according to the United Nations. Those “ghost nets” continue to catch and kill sea life, including threatened and endangered species, and make it harder for folks who make a living from the water to sustain themselves. That’s where Costa sunglasses come in. The company known for its polarized shades has partnered with Bureo, the skateboard company, to recycle fishing nets and turn them into usable products.

Chilean fishermen collect the used nets. They’re cleaned and sent to a facility in Santiago that grinds them into pellets, which are injection-molded much like regular plastic to create sunglasses. Often when materials get recycled, they come back as a lower-quality product. But Costa’s fishing net sunglasses don’t resemble flimsy shades you might get as a freebie; they’re remarkably durable.

We tested the Victoria (a women’s model) and the Baffin (a men’s model). Both frames have a weathered grey look, with textured sections that add a little flair. Soft Bahamian blue rubber pads the section that rests on your nose. For as sturdy as they are, they’re also lightweight—just 1.5 ounces.

Costa sunglasses are designed for people who spend a whole lot of time on the water, and these eco-friendly styles are no exception. On a trip down the ICW, they never once slipped off my face. Our team appreciated the way they cut glare on bright and overcast days—Costa’s in-house 580P -polarized lenses are available in four colors, depending on activity—and the lenses resisted scratching when we tossed them into our bags. (The glasses come with a reclaimed fleece case for extra protection.)

The price tag on the Costa Untangled Collection is steeper than some competitors ($219), but for the equivalent of a month’s worth of fancy coffee, the difference seems worth it considering the long-term impact every purchase has on keeping harmful nets out of the ocean.

The recycled fishing nets aren’t the only thing that make these shades eco-friendly. Each component—the frames, the lenses, the nose pads and the aluminum logo—can be recycled. That is, of course, if you don’t lose them over the transom first. For those prone to losing sunglasses, save yourself the guilt of adding to the ocean’s garbage and get a retainer to make sure these shades last.

This article originally appeared in the June 2019 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.