Vision Direct has partnered with the World Wide Fund for Nature Australia (WWF-Australia) to trial a recycling program to repurpose ocean plastics into sunglasses.
The first project between the online eyewear retailer and conservation group will see a 600m net, which WFF-Australia purchased last year, turned into sunglasses.
The net is claimed to have been the last commercial gill net that was operating fulltime in the northern Great Barrier Reef. Using supporter donations, WWF-Australia purchased the net and retired its license in order to protect dugongs and other endangered marine creatures that can be accidentally caught.
In partnership with Vision Direct, the organisations are turning plastic from the defunct net into a new sunglass range called ReefCycle.
A target has been set to pre-sell 1,000 limited edition pairs of sunglasses, with 50% of the proceeds going to WWF-Australia for conservation work. If successful, WWF-Australia and VisionDirect will look to continue the initiative with other net plastics.
“We’re benefiting the environment by taking discarded materials that damage wildlife and creating something sustainable and worthwhile,” Vision Direct CEO Mr David Menning said. “This is unlocking a circular economy in eyewear by minimising waste and making the most of an unwanted resource,” he said. ReefCycle sunglasses can accommodate prescription lenses and are currently available at $89 and $139 for polarized.