Sunglasses. We all have them, but what if yours were saving the oceans too? A new joint social venture is underway to turn a commercial gill nets into something useful – upcycled sunglasses.

Gill nets are a danger to threatened marine creatures. In 2018, donations from the public helped WWF buy the licence for the last commercial gill net operating full-time in the northern Great Barrier Reef. WWF then retired the licence. They took this action to protect dugongs and other endangered marine creatures which can be drowned if accidentally caught. WWF were then left with a 600-metre-long net. So, they got together with VisionDirect and they came up with the concept of ReefCycle sunglasses.

Sunglasses That Save the Reef

A target has been set to presell 1,000 pairs. That would signal enough demand to make it viable to continue to turn harmful plastic fishing nets into sunglasses. Said WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman, “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.”

Gill nets are being made into sunglasses

Gill nets are being made into sunglasses

O’Gorman said eight million tonnes of plastic are dumped in our oceans every year, including nets which drift in the open sea, drowning endangered marine life. “If unwanted nets are upcycled, instead of dumped, we can reduce the pollution choking our wildlife.”

The ReefCycle sunglasses are on sale at They cost $89 for regular, $139 for polarised, and a prescription option is available. People purchasing ReefCycle sunglasses will help protect local marine life with 50% of the proceeds going back to WWF for conservation work.

So if you are looking for a new pair of glasses, then how about a purchase that will make you feel good and do good? Go on, you know you want to! ■

Good thing you have those sunnies, you’ll need them for lazing in your organic pool. 

Build Your Own Organic Swimming Pool

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