The Inertia Editorial Intern
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Yup. These sunglasses are made of recycled plastic. Photo: Norton Point


The Inertia

Eight million tons of plastic flow into our oceans every year. If nothing is done, by 2050 the amount of plastic in the ocean will reportedly outnumber fish.

The situation is dire. As they say, though, one person’s trash is another’s treasure, and a company called Norton Point has taken to collecting those trashed plastic bottles and turning them into eyewear. And they’ve developed the world’s first sunglasses line made from collected high-density-polyethylene (HDPE) consumer ocean plastics.

HDPE plastics cause irreversible damage. They kill marine life and litter our coastlines. Inspired by their passion for the ocean, college friends, Rob Ianelli and Ryan Schoenike, founded Norton Point to give harmful ocean plastics a new life.

Ianelli and Schoenike’s company is committed to transparency, reinvestment, and innovation, and have made a one-to-one pledge. For every pair of glasses that the company sells, they pledge to remove one pound of plastic from the ocean. On top of that, five percent of the company’s net profits go back to global clean-up and education efforts.

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Norton Point has begun to tackle this huge environmental challenge in Haiti. This poverty-stricken nation of over ten million people has very limited sources of drinking water, and are forced to drink most of their water from plastic bottles and bags. The overwhelming plastic usage, coupled with an almost nonexistent Haitian waste management system has essentially turned the streets and canals into one big trash can. Eventually, these plastics end up in the ocean.

Norton Point has joined with leading ocean non-profit, Ocean Conservancy, and the Plastic Bank, a plastic collection organization based in Haiti, to make a difference. The company purchases their plastic from a network of Haitian collection facilities for ten times the market rate to boost the value of the repurposed plastics and help make a better life for the Haitian collectors.

And Haiti is just the beginning. Norton Point has plans to expand its mission across the globe to China, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Bahamas. The brand is dedicated to cleaning up our coastlines, helping communities around the world, and putting an end to ocean plastic pollution. Every buyer of Norton Point sunglasses can see the impact of their purchase. Engraved on each pair of Norton Points is the latitude and longitude of where the plastic used to make the glasses was collected.

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This notion of “green” products is a popular trend in the surf industry right now. Almost everywhere you look you can find products made of recycled something or another. There are athletic shoes, swim trunks, hand soap, housing, and even computer packaging all made from recycled ocean plastics.

Ultimately, as a society it is our responsibility as well as the responsibility of the plastic bottle manufacturing companies to ensure these plastics never reach the ocean. In the meantime, Norton Point is making an impact one pair of high-quality sunglasses at a time to help people “sea plastic differently.”

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