Waterhaul Crantock Sunglasses | Review - Outdoors Magic

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Waterhaul Crantock Sunglasses | Review

Ocean-ready sunnies that stand out from the crowd, not just for their stylish looks but also because they employ sustainable lenses as well as frames recycled from ocean plastics

Why We Chose It: Stylish, high-quality, truly sustainable

These days, the word ‘sunglasses’ is a bit of a misnomer, since 99% of modern sunglasses – especially those primarily intended for sports and outdoor use – contain no glass at all. Instead, the lenses are usually made of a polycarbonate composite, i.e. plastic. This includes sunnies from many so-called sustainable brands that use recycled or renewable materials to make their frames. However, recycled polycarbonate lenses do not exist, and the process of manufacturing lenses also produces microplastics when the raw material is cut to shape.

Photos: Chris Johnson

Waterhaul is different. The brand was established in 2018 by founder Harry Dennis, who was working as a marine scientist for a charity project engaging community action on plastic pollution. He was astounded by the volume of ‘ghost gear’ that the project collected – washed up trawler nets and other plastic waste from the fishing industry. Dennis came up with a method of manufacturing sunglasses frames from 100% recycled fishing net, ensuring that they consume absolutely zero virgin plastic.

“They use sustainable packaging too.”

But that still left the problem of lenses. Dennis did not want to use polycarbonate. So, he turned to Italian manufacturer Barberini, who are highly regarded for their premium polarised glass lenses. Not only did this get around the plastic problem, it also guaranteed better optical quality, since mineral glass has by far the greatest optical clarity of all lens materials, with an Abbe value of 59 (vs. 32 for polycarbonate). In addition, the chemically hardened polarised glass is substantially more scratch resistant than other lenses, meaning that Watehaul’s sunglasses are far better equipped to handle sand, saltwater and all those other things that come with coastal life.

What Are The Waterhaul Crantock Sunglasses Best Suited To?

These are shades designed for ocean adventures. The Crantock frame is a versatile circular/panto style with unisex appeal that works best for medium sized faces. We think they look great, with a matte slate grey finish that complements almost any outfit. And even if you’re not a surfer, a diver or a swimmer, these are shades that are perfectly suited to other kinds of outdoor life, from woodland walks to mountain missions.

Eco Credentials

Waterhaul is a social enterprise, and concern for the environment is the very reason that the brand exists. So, all the company’s sunglasses are made from 0% virgin plastics, instead utilising 100% recycled polypropylene nets and lines, which are the most abundant form of ‘ghost gear’ found on our shores. Pulling plastic out of the ocean and turning it into stylish sunnies is pretty cool. Recycled polymer also has just 15% of the CO2 footprint of virgin polymers.

The Barberini glass lenses are also a more sustainable alternative to polycarbonate plastic lenses, while also providing great optical quality, scratch resistance and strength too, since they exceed all international impact resistance tests.

The sunglasses are all made in Northern Italy, which reduces the products’ carbon footprint for UK and European markets. But Waterhaul are honest about this aspect. They admit that while recycling plastics is very carbon-efficient, there are inevitable costs associated with manufacture, with the largest being transportation. To address this, they use carbon offset transport methods for every movement from material collection to final product. In addition to this, for every pair sold Waterhaul donates to mangrove reforestation projects, further sequestering CO2 and deliver ecosystem benefits.

“Sustainability can be an inherently boring subject – but these remind you it does have a fun & stylish role too.”

Another project that Waterhaul supports is PlaNET Action, an education programme delivered through workshops across the UK. Portable ocean plastic recycling machines and marine biologist educators are deployed to engage and inspire the next generation to understand the marine environment, why we should protect it, and to encourage innovative thinking.

Lastly, they use sustainable packaging too. We were stoked to see that every pair of Waterhauls comes with a free sustainable cork tri-folding protective case included. Moreover, their delivery packaging is always entirely plastic-free and 100% recyclable.

Construction and Performance

These are lightweight but robust frames with quality lenses. The polarised mineral glass offers full UVA/UVB 400 protection, as well as terrific clarity and good scratch resistance. We were similarly impressed with the overall level of finishing and the components used. Take the hinges on the arms, for example, which are a durable five-barrel design. That’s a level of attention to detail that marks these out as premium sunglasses. For what you get, they’re very reasonably priced.

Verdict

Truly sustainable sunglasses that stand out from the crowd, not just for their stylish looks but also because Waterhaul’s eco credentials are significantly superior to the competition.

“Another great design that you choose because of the aesthetics, and only then do you realise the strong sustainability factors – like the frames being originated from Polypropylene fishing nets. If you are going to be vain – do it with the right values! Sustainability can be an inherently boring subject, but these remind you it does have a fun and stylish role too.”

Waterhaul Crantock

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