Summer is the perfect time to ditch conventional sunglasses and opt for eco-friendly alternatives made from recycled materials. Mainstream eyewear is often made from virgin plastic and produced unethically, leading to environmental damage and waste. Sustainable Jungle recommends independently researched products and tests them on an as-needed basis to avoid unnecessary waste.
By choosing sustainable sunglasses, individuals can protect their eyes from harmful UVA rays while also helping to reduce their environmental impact. This article will explore the benefits of eco-friendly sunglasses and highlight some of the best options available on the market.
The Best Eco-Friendly Sunglasses For a Brighter Future Of Eyewear
When it comes to eco-friendly sunglasses brands, there are many options to choose from. The following list includes some of the best sustainable and environmentally conscious sunglasses brands that offer a range of styles, shapes, and prices to suit any taste and budget.
Sunski is a US-based company that produces high-quality sunglasses made from SuperLight recycled plastic frames. The plastic used to make these frames is locally sourced from US landfills, making them a sustainable choice for those who want to reduce their environmental impact. Sunski’s Baia sustainable sunglasses for men and women are also available in metal frames. All of their affordable ethical sunglasses are shipped glue and plastic-free, in folded paperboard origami boxes. Sunski is a member of 1% for the Planet, and they donate 12% of their profits to various environmental initiatives. They also purchase carbon offsets for their operating procedures to earn a Carbon Neutral certification.
Pela is a Canadian company that makes eco-friendly sunglasses from recycled ocean plastic, old phone cases, or metal. Their selection of “Eyewear for People Who Care” consists of sunglasses that are not only eco-friendly but also stylish and affordable. Each pair of sunglasses produces 33% fewer carbon emissions, uses 34% less water, and produces 84% less waste compared to traditional acrylic sunglasses. Pela is a Certified B Corp, and they are Climate Neutral certified. They are also a member of 1% for the Planet, through which they have donated over half a million dollars to organizations like Save the Waves and other large and grassroots initiatives alike.
Proof Eyewear offers a range of sustainable sunglasses for women and men made from biodegradable and/or recycled materials, like recycled skateboard decks, recycled aluminum, sustainable forestry certified wood, and cotton-based acetate. Each pair of sunglasses is designed for disassembly, so you can recycle or compost with ease. They are all handmade and finished with stainless steel hinges, polycarbonate lenses, and come with a compostable sunglasses case made of sustainably sourced wood. Proof Eyewear donates 12% of its profits to various global aid “Do Good Projects”, like providing vision screenings and cataract surgeries to those in need. They also donate glasses, reusable menstrual pads, and their time, as well as plant five trees through Eden Reforestation Projects for every pair of sunglasses purchased.
Woodzee specializes in bio acetate vegan sunglasses made of wood pulp and cotton fiber paired with nylon polarized lenses and quality stainless steel hardware. However, they also offer sustainable sunglasses made of recycled skateboards. All frames are also prescription compatible and come with a recycled paper case. Woodzee offers a recycling program, so customers can return their worn-out Woodzees and receive 50% off their next pair.
5. Warby Parker
Warby Parker is a US-based eyewear company that offers a range of sustainable and eco-friendly sunglasses. They use a variety of materials, including cellulose acetate, titanium, and stainless steel, to create their frames. Warby Parker is committed to reducing their environmental impact, and they have implemented a number of sustainability initiatives, such as using recycled materials and reducing waste. They are also a member of 1% for the Planet, and they donate a portion of their profits to environmental organizations.
Szade is a UK-based company that produces sustainable and eco-friendly sunglasses made from recycled plastic. Their frames are designed to be durable and long-lasting, and they come with polarized lenses that offer 100% UV protection. Szade is committed to reducing their environmental impact, and they donate a portion of their profits to environmental organizations.
7. Peep Eyewear
Peep Eyewear is an Australian company that produces sustainable and eco-friendly sunglasses made from recycled plastic. Their frames are designed to be lightweight and comfortable, and they come with polarized lenses that offer 100% UV protection. Peep Eyewear is committed to reducing their environmental impact, and they donate a portion of their profits to environmental organizations.
8. Swell Vision
Swell Vision is a US-based company that produces sustainable and eco-friendly sunglasses made from recycled plastic. Their frames are designed to be durable and long-lasting, and they come with polarized lenses that offer 100% UV protection. Swell Vision is committed to reducing their environmental impact, and they donate a portion of their profits to environmental organizations.
9. SOLO Eyewear
SOLO Eyewear is a US-based company that produces sustainable and eco-friendly sunglasses made from recycled plastic. Their frames are designed to be lightweight and comfortable, and they come with polarized lenses that offer 100% UV protection. SOLO Eyewear is committed to reducing their environmental
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How We Selected the Best Sustainable Sunglasses
When evaluating sustainable sunglasses, the first factor to consider is the material used for the frames. The most eco-friendly sunglasses are made of compostable or biodegradable materials, such as bamboo, recycled wood, and sustainably-sourced hardwoods. Sunglasses made from recycled plastics and metal are also sustainable, as they can be recycled at the end of their lifespan.
However, the use of bioplastics, such as cellulose acetate, can be more complicated. While it is made from natural cotton fibers or wood pulp, making it renewable and theoretically biodegradable, the process requires the use of dangerous and corrosive chemicals. Some manufacturers also add phthalate-laden plasticizers to the material, which can be harmful to the environment and workers.
To ensure that cellulose acetate sunglasses are sustainable, it’s important to consider the manufacturing process. The ideal manufacturer uses organic cotton or sustainably harvested tree pulp, avoids adding plasticizers, and has workplace safety and proper chemical disposal systems in place. Certifications such as the Global Recycle Standard (GRS), Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), and Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation, and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) can also indicate the sustainability of the product.
When it comes to lenses, most environmentally friendly sunglasses are not fully compostable yet. Polycarbonate, a type of plastic, is the most common material used for lenses and is recyclable but requires a specialized facility. Some experimental options, such as triacetate cellulose (TAC), are emerging, but glass remains the most sustainable lens material. Glass is 100% recyclable and high-quality, making it a great option for those seeking eco-friendly prescription sunglasses.
In addition to materials, it’s important to consider the supply chain and labor practices of the manufacturer. Transparency about ethical manufacturing processes and certifications such as B Corporation (B Corp) and fair trade can indicate a commitment to ethical practices.
Carbon commitments and green practices are also important factors to consider. Sunglasses are not typically recyclable curbside and require special commercial composting or recycling facilities. Some sustainable sunglasses brands offer recycling services to ensure that their products have a minimal environmental impact. Additionally, brands that have specific carbon emission acknowledgements and plans to reduce emissions, such as renewable energy and carbon offset programs, are more likely to be sustainable.
Lastly, community and charitable giving are important factors to consider. Brands that give back to good causes, such as providing vision care to those in need, demonstrate a commitment to social responsibility.
Overall, selecting the best sustainable sunglasses involves considering the materials used for frames and lenses, the supply chain and labor practices of the manufacturer, carbon commitments and green practices, and community and charitable giving. By evaluating these factors, consumers can make an informed decision and choose sunglasses that align with their values and have a minimal environmental impact.
Final Thoughts on Sustainable & Ethical Sunglasses Brands
Choosing sustainable and ethical sunglasses brands is a great way to protect both your eyes and the planet. By supporting these brands, you are making a conscious effort to reduce your environmental impact and support ethical practices.
Many of these brands also give back to their communities or have do-good philanthropic programs, such as 1% for the Planet. Some even offer free shipping on US orders, making it easier than ever to make a sustainable choice.
Remember, the most affordable eco-friendly sunglasses are the ones you already own, so consider repairing or finding your old ones first. If you can’t find secondhand options, look for natural or recycled plastic sunglasses to take to the beach.
By choosing sustainable and ethical sunglasses brands, you can make a positive impact on the environment and support responsible business practices.