BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – A Brevard County man is turning his passion for reducing pollution into awareness.

What You Need To Know

  • Brevard County man is doing what he can to protect the environment

  • Dylan Cross created Sea Threads, which turns plastic waste from the ocean into resuable masks

  • Data from OceansAsia shows 1.56 billion face masks littered oceans in 2020

For Dylan Cross, protecting the environment is at the top of his to-do list.

As a Florida Tech student, he came up with a concept to turn pollution into product.

"Harnessing the demand for products, in a way that people can participate in being part of the solution," Cross said.

Plastic in the world's oceans is a major problem many people don't even know about. Data from Hong Kong-based OceansAsia shows 1.56 billion face masks have littered oceans over the past year of the pandemic.

"There's just plastic everywhere," Florida Teach Oceanography Professor​ Kelli Hunsucker said.

Plus even the smallest plastic parts can choke, poison or tangle sea life.

"They absorb pollutants, so it's not just the plastics being taken up the food chain, but it's also those really harmful chemicals," Hunsucker said.

Cross' concept is called Sea Threads, a company removing plastic from the ocean and creating 100% certified reusable face masks. The first of its kind effort will soon move to making shirts.

"It's very soft, breathable, UV protected from the sun," he said. "This was half pound of 100% certified plastic taken out of the ocean," he said, referring to one of his shirts.

Right now the plastic supply comes from overseas. But Cross wants to one day use materials from the U.S and focus on helping the local waterways like the Indian River Lagoon.

"It's really opened my eyes to how huge the problem is, it's happening on the larger scale, the smaller scale," Cross said.

Which he hopes his smaller scale startup will make a larger impact around the world.​

Sea Threads is partnering with Melbourne based Groundswell Startups, a group dedicated to helping build a business around a concept, raising funds and mentoring at no cost.