It’s time for warmer weather, extended, glorious yellow days, and stylish shades. In that vein, let’s take an international journey to find the company’s offering the best sustainable sunglasses.
With the environment in mind, these eyewear firms are eco-friendly and use upcycled materials, cork, bamboo, and recycled plastics. These brands are not only style setters, but mentors for conscious consumers through numerous donations to important missions to uplift the underprivileged and keep the planet free from pollution. Check out this list dedicated to green service and giving back to people and the planet.
When Sunski jumped into the eyewear game in 2012, there were no firms using eco-friendly materials, so it did what any drive company does: innovate.
Cheap sunglasses are not eco-friendly, and as a result, are a big contributor to plastic pollution. Besides the waste space they occupy, discarded plastics release methane and ethylene as they break down. Hence, landfills account for over 15% of total methane emissions.
Instead of inventing a new material, Sunski sourced post-industrial scrap plastic from U.S. landfills and packaged them in plastic-free packaging. Even better, Sunski’s ultra-light, eco-friendly polarized sunglasses don’t skimp on style. Sunski is also a carbon-neutral company and its ethically made sunglasses come with a lifetime warranty.
Pala applies eco-friendly materials to handcraft its stylish sustainable sunglasses in small batches. As a certified B Corp, Pala is committed to not only sustainable materials, but also to forging a positive impact with its business.
Pala was founded by John Pritchard after his travels to Africa revealed a massive lack of access to eye care. For Pritchard, the empowerment that comes with a new pair of glasses or corrective surgery is massive and simple. Now, Pala gets to deliver this enrichment and opportunity through funding eye care projects across Africa.
While the shades look sharp, Pala also requires that its suppliers meet the highest standards of manufacturing and compliance by signing a code of conduct. All frames are made from plant-based bio-acetate and lenses are eco-friendly.
Mita is upcycling water bottles into eyewear, five bottles at a time. The company’s mission is to play a significant part in raising low recycling rates across the Western world by transforming these used bottles into wearable, lightweight, eco-friendly eyewear.
The sustainable shades maker even manufactures its cleaning cloths and cases from recycled materials. The Mita community also works with nonprofits to help clean and protect oceans and waterways.
Solo’s visually impaired founder, Jenny Amaraneni, was inspired by Paul Polak’s novel, Out of Poverty, which describes the massive amounts of people without access to eye care. Amaraneni recruited her friend and colleague, Dana Holliday, and together they launched Solo Eyewear.
Today, San Diego’s Solo Eyewear lives by the motto, “To live and to give” in several ways. It partners with Aravind Eye Care System & Restoring Vision to help over 13,000 people across 32 countries via 10% percent of Solo’s profits. Hence, the name Solo — the idea that all it takes is one idea, one person, and one action to change the world.
By making its suave sunglasses with repurposed bamboo and recycled plastic, Solo Eyewear’s product is made to keep the earth we share green.
Sticks & Sparrow
With sunglasses constructed from sustainable materials like bamboo, reclaimed wood, and cork, the maker is taking a more responsible approach to eyewear design.
Melbourne’s Sticks & Sparrow creates its 100% UV-protected and scratch-resistant lenses with its impact in mind. Committed to sustainable materials and minimizing waste, Sticks & Sparrow also doesn’t want to waste a good pair of shades because someone doesn’t like them. The company offers the option to try frames on at home before you purchase.
Sticks & Sparrow isn’t afraid to experiment in its green commitment as well. Its Harvest collection, for example, incorporates hand-pressed native flowers and foliage into frames, grown and preserved in farms across regional Victoria, Australia.
Like the rest of the brands on this list, WearPanda is all about "Fashion with a Purpose." Its sunglasses are fashioned from sustainable bamboo, and each purchase gives back to provide employee training to help fund global eye care centers that offer free exams and prescription glasses. This is only one of several projects that are a part of WearPanda’s revenue support.
"There were enough cheap, generic plastic shades out there polluting our oceans. Maybe it was time for something sustainable, something eco-friendly and beautiful from start to finish," WearPanda posted on its website.
Its Kickstarter fans agreed, funding the company within three days. Eight years later, every dollar spent toward smooth, protective WearPanda eyewear is a step toward a better world.
Proof claims to offer the market’s most sustainable and eco-friendly sunglasses. Its eyewear is handcrafted from sustainable wood, cotton-based acetate, and recycled aluminum. With 100% UVA on most models, all the eyewear company’s natural materials used to make its frames are also treated to protect from the elements and natural wear and tear.
Each purchased pair comes with a unique quote engraved on the inner arm of the frame and a small microfiber cloth for cleaning. If frames break, they can be returned for recycling and the buyer gets a coupon for replacement sunglasses.
Founded in 2018 by marine biologists, Waterhaul’s team fashions its sustainable shades from recycled abandoned fishing net plastics. From smelly collected nets, the company searched for a sustainable solution.
Biologists turned eyewear makers partnered with mechanical recycling facilities to process various forms of end-of-life fishing gear to produce symbols of change meant to last decades in salt water.
This plastic is among the sturdiest used in ocean fishing and results in durable and sustainable recycled eyewear. Waterhaul aims to meet adventure’s technical demands and UV protection needed on ocean water.
The company’s revenue also supports its education program PlaNET Action, delivering workshops across the U.K. to engage and inspire the next generation to understand the marine environment, know why we should protect it, and encourage innovative thinking.
Our social conscience is an important part of the human drive. This does not have to lead to guilt over the actions of our fellow people and predecessors. Sustainable sunglasses are just one uplifting way to have a positive impact on the planet with your wallet. And hey, you’ll look good doing it.
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