Eco-Friendly Sunglasses and Frames: Love Your Eyes and the Planet

As summer rapidly approaches, we will be spending many more hours enjoying the warmth of the beautiful sun. Time spent outdoors, on water, on sand, and more means we need to protect our eyes! I am a culprit of buying cheap, plastic sunglasses. I always figured they’re cute, do a decent job, and I don’t have to stress about them getting beat up. Well, once again, with my shift towards conscientious shopping I decided I should invest in a good pair of sunglasses that are ethical and/or eco-friendly. Like before, I was blown away with the amount of options I found! All of them rooted in being environmentally-friendly and follow socially-conscious business models. I ended up buying 2 pair of sunglasses from SOLO Eyewear, a women-owned company based in my hometown of San Diego, and I LOVE THEM! For someone who use to buy $20 sunglasses, I now fully understand why people pay good money for them. PAY THE MONEY! Treat your eyes to good sun protection with these quality sunglasses and help the planet while doing so! Also, many brands make prescription eyewear or frames. Next time I need to update my glasses I know exactly where to look (:

I separated each brand by average pricing. Quality sunglasses are a pretty penny, but worth it. I encourage everyone to look into these brands, especially if you’re use to buying quality sunglasses, but never thought about the type of material being used.

 

Under $100


bambooz-logo-sunglasses
(Spain)

Price Range: €59 – €75 ($64 – $80)

Sunglasses

Bambooz was introduced in 2013 to bring a high quality, handcrafted product to environmentally conscience individuals. Materials utilized are bamboo, wood, and recycled skateboard decks.



crossed-logo-sunglasses
(UK)

Price Range: £50 – £95 ($64 – $120)

Sunglasses

CROSSED products are handmade with environmentally -friendly materials that include acetates, durable metals, and wooden pins made from bamboo or zebrawood.


dizm_logo-eyewear

Price Range: $70 – $125

Sunglasses

Dizm creates sunglasses with frames made of a plant-based BioSan plastic, which is recyclable, biodegradable, compostable, and renewable; and lens that are made of 50% renewable plant-based plastic. Dizm is headquartered in Hermosa Beach, California.


sea2see_logo-sunglassesPrice Range: $87 – $114

Prescription frames and sunglasses

Sea2See Eyewear combines one man’s love for the ocean and dedication to reducing our impact on the environment. Working with local fishing communities off the coast of Spain, Sea2See Eyewear has created products made entirely out of abandoned fishnets and ropes. They collect approximately 1 ton of abandoned nets, ropes, and plastic every 3 days! Each pair of glasses are 100% recycled and handmade in Italy.


solo_logo-sunglasses

Price Range: $59 – $89

Sunglasses

SOLO Eyewear is a small woman-owned company based in San Diego, California. They use recycled and repurposed materials to create 100% UV protection sunglasses that can also be made into prescription sunglasses. Furthermore, the manufacturers are ethically sourced and the accessories come from a group of female artisans in Panajachel, Guatemala.

The main goal of SOLO Eyewear is not to be another sunglass brand, but to use their product to help the over 1 billion people that do not have access to proper eye care. With each purchase, 10% of profits are donated to their partnerships with Aravind Eye Care System and Restoring Vision.


woodwear_logo-sunglasses

Price Range: $35 – $95

Prescription eyeglass frames and sunglasses (and watches)

Woodwear is based in Hermosa Beach, California and creates sunglasses made of bamboo. Woodwear utilizes bamboo as it is a sustainable harvested grass that regenerates 8 times faster than hardwood. A percentage of each sale goes to organizations that help others.



Price Average $100 – $150

Breakwater

Price Range: $80 – $150

Sunglasses

With the motto, “Protect your vision — Preserve our planet,” Breakwater has worked to bring eco-friendly frames with polarized lenses to the public. Founded in Venice Beach in California and being fueled by the pollution in Los Angeles, Breakwater works with various organizations to help clean and maintain our oceans, lakes, and rivers. Their product reduces the oil based plastic pollution common in sunglass waste.


norton-point_logo-sunglassesPrice Range: $129 – $145

Sunglasses

Based on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, MA, Norton Point developed from two college friends’ goal to create sustainable sunglasses from ocean plastic and plant-based materials. Norton Point has developed the first line of eyewear made from recovered polyethylene (HDPE) ocean plastics, a common consumer plastic. With every purchase, Norton Point has pledged to remove one pound of plastic from the ocean, while also donating 5% of net profits to their partners: Ocean Conservancy and the Plastic Bank.


Panda

Price Range: $120

Sunglasses (and watches)

Beginning as three college friends’ idea to create something new and sustainable, they created Panda Sunglasses and started the bamboo sunglass craze. Every product is made from sustainable materials and with each purchase they give back to the community. With every sunglass purchase, a percent goes to their partner Optometry Giving Sight. Panda also creates bamboo watches with a percent of each purchase going to Pencils of Promise.


Proof Eyewear    proof_logo-eyewear

Price Range: $90 – $180

Prescription eyewear and sunglasses

Proof Eyewear was started by 3 brothers in Idaho who took a wood consumer product to the next level with sustainable eyewear. All items handcrafted from sustainable materials including FSC-certified wood, cotton-based acetate, and repurposed skateboard decks. Proof Eyewear also conducts a Do Good program where they give back on a project-by-project basis, partnering with local organizations like the Nature Conservancy to internationally through HELP International. Check out their website to see their current projects.


stickssparrow_LOGO-sunglassesPrice Range: $85, $95, $100, $200

Sunglasses

Sticks & Sparrow developed after a risk from designer and director of EYETRIBE Bec Bennett to venture into the adult eyewear industry using sustainable materials. Sticks & Sparrow utilizes plant-based acetate with bamboo and other reclaimed wood materials, and encases each sunglass pair in cork hardcases.


swell_logo-sunglassesPrice Range: $99 – $125

Sunglasses (Also watches, accessories, hats, apparel)

Swell was born in the mind of a young high school senior who was known to exhaust all resources to find the most affordable option. Spending much of his senior year developing Swell shades, founder Mitchell Saum chose bamboo for the main material due to its renewable nature. In 2014, Mitchell visited the Green School in Bali, which offers the world’s foremost sustainable education program; thus, Swell solidified a partnership to continue funding the Green School’s programs.


Velo

(Greece)

Price Range: €130 ($143)

Sunglasses

Velo was founded on the principles of sustainable fashion and veganism by creating a product that respected humans, the environment, and animals. The finest materials are found in Italy and France and manufactured happily in Greece. For every pair sold they donate to animal shelters, specifically DogsVoice.


Waiting for the Sun

(France)

Price Range 90€ – 140€ ($96 – $150)

Sunglasses

Coming from the minds of two friends who met in Brittany, France, Waiting for the Sun focuses on unique products with sustainable materials. Wood is their main material, but they also use BOIS2 and high quality acetate. All products are handmade.


Warby Parker

Price Range: $95 and up

Prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses

With the idea forming after a close friend lost their prescription glasses and was a too-broke-college student to afford a new pair, Warby Parker was born to create designer eyewear at affordable prices while also being a socially conscious business. Materials include premium Japanese titanium and single-sheet cellulose acetate sourced from a family-run Italian factory. Warby Parker functions on the business model “one-for-one” and partners with non-profits like VisionSpring to help distribute glasses to those in need.


wooed_logo-sunglassesPrice Range: $95 – $195

Sunglasses (and cuff links)

WOOED builds new and innovative wood products as a proud San Francisco-made company. Products are handcrafted from reclaimed or sustainably harvested wood. A portion of profits are donated to reforestation projects.


Woodzee

Price Range: $90 – $130

Sunglasses (and watches)

Starting with the idea of combining style with nature, Woodzee has created durable eyewear with sustainable materials. Materials include acetate (plant-based plastic), wood, and bamboo.

*Disclaimer: The Woodzee website promotes other sunglass brands and although they all seem ethical from my quick research, please do your own research before purchasing a brand other than Woodzee. Also, some Woodzee sunglasses are made in China, so look for the Made in USA stamp if you are concerned.



Price Average Over $150


bohten_logo-sunglasses
(Canada)

Price Range: $120 – $250

Prescription glasses and sunglasses

While visiting Kwahu, the highest habitable place in Ghana, Bohten was founded with the goal of using reclaimed material to manufacture an eco-luxury eyewear line. Bohten is headquartered in Canada, but is moving to Ghana to become a leader in eyewear manufacturing in Africa. With the new eyewear manufacturing supply in Ghana, Bohten hopes to inspire sustainable employment, social responsibility, education, and environmental awareness for the African continent and for fashion globally. Bohten partners with Sightsavers in a program called “Impact of One” to help bring eye care to people with disabilities.


dick-moby-logo-sunglasses(Netherlands, France)

Price Range: €155 – €220 ($170 – $310)

Prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses

Forming from an unfortunate surf trip where they were confronted with loads of plastic waste, Dick Moby was created as a positive way to address plastic pollution. Dick Moby uses sustainability in every possible form: from recycled acetate and bio-based acetate frames to microfibre cleaning cloths made of recycled PET plastic bottles, and finally with recycled leather hard cases. Dick Moby works with Italian company Mazzucchelli, who produces high-quality bio-degradable acetate, and another Italian manufacturer of handmade glass.


finlayco-logo-sunglasses(England)

Price Range: $150 – $450

Prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses

Finlay & Co take great care and pride in designing every pair of frames in their West London studio before sending the design off to be handmade using up to 32 different stages of craftmanship. Materials range from refined natural hardwoods to the famous Italian Mazzucchelli acetate. One of the many world-renowned brands they collaborate with is Glenmorangie Whiskey, where they were able to take their single malt whisky casks and repurpose them into sunglasses.


moat-house_logo-sunglasses

(UK)

Price Range: £145 – £250 ($187 – $320)

Sunglasses

Forming from the notion of not just burning a fallen limb from an ancient Oak tree on the Moat House grounds, Sam & Nick Clarke used the fallen limb to carve the first “Moat House” frames. Since, Moat House has expanded to market leaders in the field of eco-friendly alternatives to plastic. There is over 25 different craftsmanship stages to creating a Moat House pair of sunglasses, and they work to have almost zero wood waste at the end of each cycle. For every pair of Moats bought, they plant an endangered tree in the rainforest.


Shwood

Price Range: $109 – $425

Prescription glasses and sunglasses

Shwood was and continues to be run on a spirit of experiment and creativity. Combining delicate craftsmanship with eyewear, the Portland-based workshop creates beautiful wood glasses that showcase the natural beauty of wood and provides quality optics.


topheads_logo-sunglasses(Australia)

Price Range: $90 – $200

Founded and handmade in Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia, Topheads eyewear uses only eco-friendly materials that included wood, bamboo, bioplastic, & recycled skateboard decks. Each product is handcrafted with no single pair of sunglasses being the same.


Uptitude

Price Range: €160 ($175)

Prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses

Handmade in Italy using upcycled snowboards and ski, Uptitude founders are fascinated by discard materials. Every pair is one-of-a-kind due the nature of the materials used.


Westward Leaning

Price Range: $185 – $295

Sunglasses

Westward Leaning was founded in 2012 and create sunglasses that are inspired by human achievement. No models can be found on their site except for customers because they do not create sunglasses for any one gender, age, ethnicity, etc. Westward Leaning puts in every effort to be as ethical, sustainable, fair, and socially-conscious in the creation of their product. From visiting the production facilities regularly, using a family-run business mainly, and using no animal products unless they are naturally shed (like their antler collection). Westward Leaning is donating 25% of proceeds from their Spring 2017 collection to the United Nations Foundation.


ZEAL Optics

Price Range: $99 – $219

Sunglasses (and ski goggles)

Focusing on the mantra “Use Less, Give Back, Explore More,” ZEAL Optics has worked to provide sunglasses and goggles that represent the lifestyle of the outdoors while also protecting them. ZEAL Optics uses plant-based materials to build their sunglass frames and lenses. Every purchase helps them continue to donate money and time to their many partners and projects that include: 5 Gyres, Project 5480, The Latitude Project, dZi Foundation, Protect Our Winters, Second Mile Water, More Than Just Me, SOS Outreach, and Adaptive Adventures.



At Retailers

Blue Planet Eyewear

Drift

Feb31st

MODO



Disclaimer: These are brands I found that follow basic standards of being environmentally-friendly and ethical. However, I did not email each company to verify what they stated in their About section to be true. I trust what they have written about their company is their honest word and have relayed a short version to you. Please do your own research if you would like direct confirmation from the company. Also, this list does not represent every eyewear company that adheres to environmentally-conscious and/or ethically made products. I focused on eco-friendly eyewear companies and did not include companies that are ethical, but lack eco-friendly products. Otherwise, I hope you find my list helpful and an easy way to find eyewear you can be proud about.

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