One such initiative is shining a light (so bright you’ll need shades) on the northern Great Barrier Reef. VisionDirect has partnered with wildlife conservation organisation WWF-Australia to upcycle 100 per cent of the commercial gill nets that have been removed from the region. The result is ReefCycle – sustainable, chic sunglasses rescuing the ocean and protecting our eyes. The latest must-have fashion accessory with a purpose? Indeed!
Dermot O’Gorman, the CEO of WWF-Australia, says: “What a story behind these sunglasses – plastic once used to kill marine life becomes a product to protect your eyes. They are ideal for people who value saving wildlife, sustainability and creative reuse. If unwanted nets are upcycled, instead of dumped, we can reduce the pollution choking our wildlife.”
Each year an estimated 98,228 marine animals, including dolphins, dugongs and turtles, are caught in commercial gill nets on Queensland’s east coast. Last year, WWF-Australia supporters bought and removed the last full-time commercial gill net from the northern Great Barrier Reef.
Now, the goal is to sell 1000 pairs of sunglasses made from the net, and with 50 per cent of all proceeds going back to WWF-Australia for conservation work, this means that every pair purchased helps to remove even more plastic from our oceans. VisionDirect CEO David Menning said upcycling old nets was another way to give back to the community and unlock “a circular economy in eyewear”.
“We’re benefiting the environment by taking discarded materials that damage wildlife and creating something sustainable and worthwhile,” he says. ReefCycle sunglasses come in three different lens colours and can be polarised or non-polarised. They will cost $89 for regular, $139 for polarised, and a prescription option will be available.
As an exclusive pre-sale offer, the first 1000 pairs will be personalised with a marine animal of your choice (dugong, turtle, dolphin, hammerhead or swordfish). Remember: the more sunglasses sold the more plastic that can be removed from the ocean.