I’ve long been a fan of cheap disposable sunglasses, specifically ones made of plastic. I’ve got a rather wide face and finding sunglasses which suit me in my opinion, is nearly impossible. This, paired with the fact that I’m clumsy and forgetful has allowed me to make excuses to myself justifying constant careless consumption.
In my life, I have only once owned a proper pair of sunglasses which were bestowed upon me by a very generous family I nannied for in my late teens (The terrific Thompsons!). It was the best job I ever had, the best family I ever nannied for, and to this day, the sunglasses were the best accessory I've ever owned.
I loved them as if they were my own child and cared for them carefully, but after five years together they snapped on me, and I was left heartbroken. Since I was in University at the time and couldn’t afford to replace them, instead of making peace with the realities of wear and tear, I swore I’d never love another pair of peepers again, and since, my relationship with a single pair of sunglasses has lasted a maximum six months before, without explanation, we part ways.
This year, a few weeks before we left Paris for some foreign sun, I smashed my final pair of knockoff ray bans that I’d bought frivolously on a beach in Spain in September. As I stared at the pitiful pair now two pieces in my hands, I realised I’d grown tired of my worn out ways, and decided I best invest in something smarter, better looking, and considerably more conscious, so I started searching to see how sustainable sunglasses could really be.
As it turns out, most sunglasses are made with plastic, and thus, not sustainable. Plastic is a petroleum-based substance, a resource which is non-renewable, it is also a product which cannot biodegrade, meaning even once we’ve snapped them and thrown them, they’ll never really go away. To top it off, they’re almost exclusively made by exploited workers, yet another reason to avoid them like the plague. (general rule of buying stuff: if it’s under ten bucks, the CEO sucks).
Fortunately, there are companies who have sustainably and ethically outsmarted the environmental and humanitarian harms of the sunglasses scandal, developing production practices which harm neither the planet nor her inhabitants. Instead of plastic, they recycled, repurposed, renewable, or bio-based materials … and pay fair wages to their employees taboot.
To celebrate their thoughtful creations, I’ve lined up a few of my favourites here for your consideration, to return to next time your sucky sunnies snap.
Eco + Ethical How? Handmade in Portland, Oregan, the frames of these beautifully crafted creations are made from natural materials like wood, stone, cellulite acetate (which is biodegradable), and responsibly sourced titanium
Eco + Ethical How? This brand’s collection is made from renewable resources which are biodegradable and hypoallergenic. A trifecta. Each of their laser-engraved designs are built from environmentally conscious things like bamboo, pear wood, ebony, old skateboard decks, cotton-based acetate, and recycled aluminium. The lenses are polarized and hinges stainless steel and spring-loaded. Each pair is made in Boise, Idaho where their flagship store is situated.
Where To Buy? On their website HERE
Eco + Ethical How? They make their sunglasses from ten carefully layered, cross woven and forged together eco-friendly bamboo. Which is a sustainable resource for objects so long as it stays in its wood form. In addition to their environmental commitments, they have also partnered with Optometry Giving Sight so that each pair of sunglasses purchased give the gift of vision to someone in need.
*Personal Note: I bought a pair of these for my husfriend as he'd also gone through heaps of plastic sunglasses due to bad storage choices and the ocean. These bad boys are made 20x stronger than plastic and come with a lifetime warranty on top of being eco-friendly, and floatable. He did not like the colour they came in but was too sweet to mention it within in the return policy time, so he's since sanded the dark brown colour they came in, right off ;)
Eco + Ethical How? Dick’s sunglasses are all made from 97% recycled acetate waste, which is biodegradable, the remaining 3% made up of biodegradable made from biodegradable acetate. Each pair comes housed in a recycled leather case, accompanied by a cleaning cloth made from recycled PET bottles.
Where to Buy? On their website HERE
Eco + Ethical How? Paul McCartney’s daughter has been producing her collection of eyewear from natural and renewable resources.such as bio acetate. She is a member of the (ETI) which is an alliance of companies which are working together to improve working conditions around the world.
Where to Buy? On her website HERE
Eco + Ethical How? Handcrafted acetate frames and temples made from globally sourced sustainable materials such as bamboo, reclaimed wood and cork, packaged in cork hard cases, this collection is environmentally conscious and impeccably designed.
Where to Buy? On their website HERE
|Sticks & Sparrow|
Eco + Ethical How? This super dope collection of men’s and woman’s plant-based acetate sunglasses are made in my home country of Canada. Each purchase supports investments in local entrepreneurs. I sort of like, and sort of think it is weird for companies to not celebrate their sustainability (like it should be normal and not mentioned, but also makes me wonder why they don’t), but from what I can find online, these guys get the nod from most eco blogs and news agencies.Where To Buy? Their website HERE
*Please Note: The sunglasses you see me in are by Tom's, which I got second hand. They're neither eco nor (I suspect) ethical; however, I will love them in all their bright coloured glory and treat them with respect until the universe decrees we will part, at which time I'll be buying a pair from one of the conscious creators above!
First Photo: Shane Woodward (the rest from the brand's instagram)