The best Eco Friendly Sunglasses in 2022 that Give Back

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Quick Links:

1. Sunski – Best Bang for your buck

2. Waterhaul – Sustainable Lenses

3. Sea2see – UPSEA Plastic

4. Colorful Standard – Bio-Based Resin

5. Skrap – Recycled Skateboards

6. Good Citizen – 1 Bottle = 1 Pair Of sunnies

7. Ballo – Recycled from Africa

8. Bureo – Fishing Net Sunglasses

9. IwantProof – Recycled Aluminum Sunglasses

It doesn’t matter what time of the year, sunnies or sunglasses come in useful on any bright or glary day. I lived a decade in Australia, then a couple of years in Canada, and now I am in Mexico. And trust me, I have had sunglasses everywhere I went. It was one of the few items I wanted to become a collector of. (I am more of a minimalist).

A pair of aviators, some sunnies for snowboarding, some for everyday use and I even had some for kitesurfing, and I spent the biggest amount of money on the smallest pair of sunglasses just so that I could look and feel like Neo from the matrix.

Yes, those sunglasses were $700, and I lost them in the Sri Lankan sea. This was all before my journey as a zerowasteman, and now I own one pair. A Sunski pair that I have had for a year now, and I just ordered some replacement lenses since the old ones started to have some defects. Nevertheless, Sunski returned to me within a day and replaced my lenses for free.

Sure the point is not to have to replace your lenses, but most of the time, you can’t even do that. I like that they offer replacement lenses, so you don’t have to get a new set.

This blog post will show you some cool, new, and innovative eco-friendly sunglass brands. But don’t be fooled because, let’s face it, one way or another, these glasses are going to end up in landfills unless you make sure to send them to Terracycle. They have a zero waste box to collect your broken specs, or the company offers a recycling program.

What are eco-friendly sunglasses made of?

Eco-friendly sunglasses can be made of recycled ocean plastic, recycled materials such as recycled aluminum, or biodegradable materials, such as wood, cork and bamboo.

What to Look for When Shopping for Sustainable Sunglasses

When shopping for sunglasses online, look for sustainable ones made from biodegradable materials. You can also consider buying sunglasses manufactured from sustainable materials and sustainably produced in an environmentally and socially responsible fashion. Below we have the best brands of sustainable sunglasses on the planet.

There are a few key aspects that we at zerowasteman look for in a company that claims to make eco-friendly sunglasses.

  1. Do they show any proof of their sustainable actions on the website?

  2. Are they members

    of reputable organizations such as 1% for the planet member or the B Corp?
  3. Alternatively, do they have a give-back program?
  4. Are the materials that they use recycled materials,

    or do they come from renewable resources?

  5. How are they made?

The best eco-friendly and sustainable sunglasses in 2022!

1. Sunski

Sunski is so far one of my favorite sustainable sunglasses brands. Not only because I own a pair and love their customer support but also because they are timeless, look good, and give me the polarized lenses that I need for living near the ocean.

But also because the price is right. It doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg to get a nice pair of sunglasses made from recycled materials. Plastic in this case.

Material: Recycled Plastic, polarized lenses

Gives Back: 1% member for the planet

Value: Lifetime Warranty, replacement lenses for $18

Shipping: Worldwide

Cost: $48-$98

Shop the Full Send Event at Sunski and save up to 40% on select styles!

The story behind Waterhaul is an inspiring one, and since I myself live near the ocean and kitesurf or surf, I, too couldn’t help but see the ghost gear discarded on beaches or entangled with our marine life.

Founder Harry Dennis took it on himself to turn ghost gear into stylish-looking eyewear; this is where we are today.

Material: 100% recycled fishing nets

Lens: Barberini mineral glass lens, sustainable lenses

Gives Back: 1% member for the planet

Value: Lifetime Warranty, replacement of frames or recycling of frames forever.

Packaging: cork and cotton

Shipping: Worldwide

Cost: $90

3. Sea2sea

These high-quality sunglasses are made with 100% recycled ocean plastic, the cases come in cork with recycled PET cleaning cloths.

Sea2Sea has been actively contributing to reducing ocean plastic and has been a part of 6 of the 17 Sustainable development goals that were formally adopted in September 2015 by the UN General Assembly with the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.

If you want to wear outstanding eyewear and give back these guys are up for the task.

Material: 100% recycled fishing nets, 1 frame = 1kg of marine plastic

Gives Back: B Corp, Carbon Negative

Packaging: cork and recycled PET cleaning cloth

Shipping: Worldwide

Cost: Euro 98-160

4. Colorful Standard

Shop now for 15% off orders over $120

Colorful standard while also a slow fashion company has a line of sustainable eyewear. they primarily use cellulose acetate frames which they claim are 100% biodegradable and fully compostable. I always cringe when I read such a big claim because most often the case is that it requires a composting facility which not everyone has near the city you live in.

Material: 100% recycled fishing nets, 1 frame = 1kg of marine plastic

Gives Back: B Corp, Carbon Negative

Packaging: cork and a recycled PET cleaning cloth

Shipping: Worldwide

Cost: Euro 98-160

5. Skrap

Skrap is a small business coming out of Canada. They are using old skateboards and upcycling them into stylish and unique sunglasses.

Gotta love to support the circular economy by sticking with small companies such as this one. Proudly handcrafted in Ottawa, Canada from 100% reclaimed skateboard decks. Each pair has brilliant and totally unique layers of colored maple wood veneer from a skateboard deck with a backstory. Each is fitted with stainless steel spring-hinges, has UV400 Polarized lenses, water resistant finish.

Material: 100% recycled skateboards

Gives Back: No but you support a small business.

Packaging: Reclaimed material

Cost: $100-125 CAD

6. Good Citizens

These highly customizable pair of sunglasses is made from 1 post-consumer plastic bottle and turned into 3 different styles to choose from. The arms are interchangeable and you can even choose different colored hinge clips.

Made in Sydney it took this family business 752 days and 2500 failed attempts until they had created the final result.

Material: 100% recycled plastic bottles

Lenses: Carl Zeiss UV 400 CAT 3 polarized and non-polarized

Gives Back: Resea Project (removing ocean plastic), C2zero (offsetting carbon)

Packaging: recyclable cardboard box

Cost: $100-169 for prescription glasses AUD

7. Ballo

Ballo makes stylish sunglasses since 2013 out of cape town Africa. The glasses are all handmade and create lots of jobs. Alistair Barnes the founder previously worked for a wooden sunglass firm that claimed to be in the US but was actually making their products in China.

He started Ballo to be authentic and sustainable, and the results are amazing.

Material: upcycled and recycled sustainably sourced materials.

Lenses: Scratch-resistant lenses CR 39

Gives Back: 1% member for the planet, greenpop (planting trees) and supporting communities and educating people.

Packaging: recyclable sustainable packaging.

Cost: $108-168 USD

8. Bureo

Bureo makes high-quality glasses out of discarded fishing nets. Reducing plastic pollution in our oceans and turning them into high-quality frames.

Bureo has also partnered with Patagonia and is supplying their NetPlus material which is made from post-consumer recycled fishing nets. Together they have created a line of some of Patagonia’s best jackets board shorts and more. You can find that here.

Material: recycled fishing nets

Lenses: Costa’s patented 580 Lightwave® Glass lenses

Gives Back: 1% member for the planet

Cost: $206-226 USD

9. I Want Proof

Proof was founded in 2010 by three brothers in a garage. It quickly made a name and pioneered the movement around sustainable sunglasses.

Today their headquarters are in Idaho but you can get their glasses anywhere in the world.

Material: recycled aluminum, sustainably sourced wood, biodegradable cotton-based acetate.

Lenses: Polarized anti-reflective lens | UVA/UVB 400 protection

Gives Back: restoring vision, planting 5 trees for each frame sold.

Cost: $75 – 125 USD

Why Choose Sustainable Eyewear?

Conventional sunglasses are made from virgin plastic which requires a lot more energy to create than using recycled plastic. Sustainable eyewear has the potential to revolutionize the industry by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and water usage while offering customers an environmentally friendly option that they can be proud of wearing every single day.

Since the rise of eco-friendly products and more companies opting for sustainable solutions, eyewear is also becoming more eco-friendly.

Yes, most sunglasses that are made from recycled materials are still plastic sunglasses, but we are talking recycled plastic. Companies like Sunski even have options to only buy a new set of polarized lenses when your old ones are damaged or scratched.

A few companies use fishing nets that have been collected through ocean clean-ups. In fact, the Ocean Cleanup Project made a pair of eco-friendly sunglasses from the ocean plastic that they collected in the great pacific garbage patch. If you would like to know more about what ocean cleanup is up to read this article.

Sadly they won’t make another pair of sunglasses so you can only admire them here.

What are the best-recycled materials for eco-friendly sunglasses?

The best materials to use for eco-friendly sunglasses are materials that can either be definitively recycled, like aluminum or glass. But sustainably sourced wood often makes good solid frames for glasses.

Can You Recycle Acetate Sunglasses?

You may have come across some sunglasses that claim to be biodegradable and or eco-friendly and say they use bio acetate frames. After doing my research I came up with this conclusion.

Acetate is a human-derived, semi-synthetic material. It is made from wood pulp mixed with chemicals like acetic acid (vinegar)acetic anhydride, and sulphuric acid. It is then spun into fibers and sometimes mixed with other materials until it is turned into sheets or molded into shape. You can find it used as a fabric in curtains, etc or molded into frames for sunglasses.

And because it’s thermoplastic—meaning it can soften when heated and return to a hardened state when cooled—it is very popular in the eco-friendly sunglasses market today.

But, and this is a big but, it can only biodegrade depending on where and how it was discarded. So don’t assume you can throw it in your compost bin.

Additionally, the chemicals that are being used to make acetate have been linked to reproductive health issues and more. On top of that, it also breaks down into microplastics, further damaging our environment.

Microplastic, what is that? Learn all about what microplastic is and how you can avoid it here.

So, yes it is better than virgin plastic but you are still going to buy a product that doesn’t easily break down, uses chemicals that harm people and the environment and it leaves microplastic behind.

End note:

Some of the eco-friendly sunglasses we mentioned here use either bio acetate or are made from some form of synthetic polymer that may be mixed with something natural like corn or sugarcane. But remember, if it doesn’t fully biodegrade in your home compost, it will impact the environment, and that is just the way it is. So rather than becoming a collector of sunglasses, keep it minimal and own one nice pair of sunglasses for a long, long time.

Wanna know who actually makes your glasses?

60 Minutes Luxottica Do you know who makes your glasses
Photo of author

Hendrik Kaiser

I've studied biology and lived for 3 years on an off-grid permaculture farm. I love kitesurfing and keeping my body healthy and fit. Hence, I care so much about keeping our environment clean and being as zero waste as possible. Being a zerowasteman is a superpower everyone has inside of themselves, and I want to teach you how you can unleash it.

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