• Sydney Chic

How you could help save the Great Barrier Reef with a pair of upcycled sunnies




Would you wear a pair of upcycled sunnies? What if it meant you could help protect over 90,000 marine animals and contribute to conservation work for our Great Barrier Reef? This is the premise Arise Collective proposes after joining forces with WWF-Australia.


Read on to find out more about the stylish yet sustainable sunglasses branded as ‘ReefCycle’.

How did ReefCycle come about?

WWF-Australia’s supporters helped buy and remove the last full-time commercial gill net from the northern Great Barrier Reef. They partnered with Arise Collective to turn the net into something useful- sustainable sunnies. The net was cut, melted and moulded down into a pair of sunglasses that are as stylish as they are valuable to protecting our Great Barrier Reef. Each purchase sees 50% donated back to WWF-Australia to continue with more conservation work.

What is upcycling ?

Upcycling is the act of reusing things to create a product of even greater value. Old, unused materials or items get repurposed into something better than before. In the case of ReefCycle, commercial gill nets removed from the Northern Great Barrier Reef were remade into sunglasses.

Upcycling in fashion

Roughly just 20% of the world’s clothing is collected for reusing or recycling and more than 8 million tonnes of plastic, including harmful fishing nets, end up in our oceans every year. Grim statistics like these is what contributed to the sunglasses brand Arise Collective to team up with WWF-Australia and bring about positive change with a pair of sunnies made from once deadly gill nets.


They’re not the only brand to take an environmental stance in fashion either, as today’s savvy consumers are demanding more from the brands they shop with. Patagonia started using recycled plastic bottles to make their garments back in 1993! And more recently Urban Outfitters have expanded into a sub-clothing line that revamps deadstock materials that typically end up in landfill into unique clothing pieces.

Why should you upcycle?
  1. Reduce waste. Roughly 35% of materials in the supply chain end up as waste according to the Global Fashion Agenda and the Boston Consulting Group

  2. Reduce your environmental footprint. According to the Global Fashion Agenda and the Boston Consulting Group, only 20% of the world’s clothing is collected for reuse or recycling.

  3. Stand out from the crowd! By upcycling things yourself or buying them from companies who create things from recycled materials you’re truly getting a one-of-a-kind product.

  4. Save money! At its most basic form, when you upcycle something yourself you can actually save money as you’re making it yourself and not paying for manufacturing costs.

  5. Put pressure on brands to continue to upcycle and adopt sustainable fashion measures.

Why you need ReefCycle?
  1. Protect Australia’s marine wildlife! It’s estimated that more than 98,000 sharks, dolphins, turtles, dugongs and sawfish are caught by commercial gill nets on Queensland’s east coast every year. Buying a pair of ReefCycle keeps commercial gill nets out of our oceans.

  2. Support further WWF-Australia conservation work. Help to keep plastics out of our oceans as the more sunglasses that are sold, the more proceeds will go towards funding WWF-Australia conservation work, like advocacy for a Net-Free North.

  3. One-of-a-kind sunnies Each pair of ReefCycle sunnies features a super cute illustration of one of the marine animals you’re helping to protect on the inner glasses temple.

  4. Wide range of lens options ReefCycle is available with both non-prescription and prescription lenses as well as polarised or non-polarised. Plus, choose from a range of colours including black, brown or green tinted lenses.

Now you know more, would you wear these sunnies? We sure will! Unique, innovative and environmentally-focused, you’re sure to stand out with a pair of these sunnies, and feel good while doing it! Shop them here now or try them on before you buy them with Vision Direct’s Virtual Try-On tool now.

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