15 Best Sustainable Sunglasses Brands With Eco-Friendly Frames
Sunglasses do more than just shield your eyes from the sun’s glare—they make a seriously stylish statement. But did you know they can also make an environmentally-friendly statement?
In today’s world, we want more than just UV protection and sleek shades. We want to know we’re doing good while we look good. More and more, we’re seeking out sustainable options that align with our values.
But what exactly makes a pair of shades “sustainable”? Does it have to do with materials, manufacturing, or brand practices? Let’s shed some light on what defines eco-friendly eyewear.
We’ll dig into the best biodegradable frames, lenses made from unexpected organic sources, and production processes that reduce waste. We’ll also highlight the brands leading the way in green, ethical choices.
By the end, you’ll be ready to sport sunglasses that protect your eyes, express your style, andcare for the planet. You’ll know what sets eco-conscious shades apart from the rest.
Materials Used In Sustainable Sunglass Frames
Sustainable frame materials are the key consideration when shopping for eco-friendly sunglasses. The components that make up the frames—from temples to lenses—have the largest physical footprint, so choosing options made from renewable, recycled, or responsibly-sourced materials can significantly reduce the environmental impact.
- Wood – Renewable, biodegradable woods such as bamboo, ebony, and sandalwood are not only eco-friendly but have also become a hot trend in the world of eyewear. These materials are ethically sourced through sustainable harvesting and replanting initiatives. Brands like Zeyelo handcraft frames from durable woods like walnut.
- Bamboo – This rapidly growing plant is a renewable and biodegradable material that makes for lightweight, moisture-resistant, and strong frames. Bamboo frames also float, a feature that makes them perfect for water-based activities. Brands such as Panda use sustainably-sourced bamboo in their eyewear, combining environmental consciousness with style.
- Recycled Metals – Brands recycle industrial metals like aluminum, steel, and titanium, preventing them from reaching landfills. This reusable material is durable, stylish, and eco-friendly. Proof Eyewear incorporates recycled aluminum into some frames.
- Recycled Plastics – Companies recover ocean plastics or repurpose used polyester, nylon, and PET into sunglass parts. This approach combats plastic pollution and supports a circular economy. Brands like Sea2See and Eco Eyewear use recycled ocean plastics.
- Plant-Based Plastics – Bio-acetate derived from plants like cotton and wood pulp serves as a sustainable and biodegradable plastic alternative. It combines style, quality, and sustainability. Pela uses bio-acetate from plants in their sunglasses.
Sustainable Sunglasses Lenses: An Unsolved Issue
Unfortunately, sustainable lens technology has yet to fully catch up with the frame materials. Most lenses are made of polycarbonate or CR39 polarized plastic resin, both requiring specialized facilities for recycling. Before disposing of a frame, the lenses must be removed.
An emerging alternative is TAC, or triacetate cellulose, though it is still in its experimental phase. A few forward-thinking brands are reverting to traditional glass lenses, as they are fully recyclable and can even be produced in a zero-waste manner.
The Role of Cellulose Acetate in Sustainable Sunglasses
Cellulose acetate, a glossy, transparent petroleum polymer, presents a complicated relationship with sustainability. It’s renewable, theoretically biodegradable, and ideal for eyewear due to its lightweight, moldable nature. However, it’s not without its environmental concerns.
Here are the key factors determining the eco-friendliness of cellulose acetate:
- It should be made with organic cotton or sustainably harvested tree pulp.
- It must be 100% bio-based, with no added plasticizers.
- The manufacturing process should be ethical, safe, and environmentally conscious. Italian cellulose acetate is generally considered the gold standard, largely due to Europe’s strict REACH chemical standards.
Sustainable Manufacturing Processes
The path towards creating truly sustainable sunglasses extends beyond the choice of materials. It’s equally important to consider how these products are made. From the energy used in manufacturing facilities to waste management, water use, and labor practices, every aspect of the process can contribute to—or detract from—a product’s overall sustainability.
- Renewable Energy — Utilizing renewable energy sources like solar, wind, and hydroelectric power significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions and reliance on fossil fuels.
- Eco-friendly Practices — Implementing strategies such as using energy-efficient machinery, minimizing material waste, and reusing or recycling waste can greatly reduce environmental harm.
- Responsible Water Use — Embracing water-efficient processes, recycling water, and treating wastewater minimizes water usage and pollution, promoting water conservation.
- Ethical Labor Practices — Prioritizing fair wages, safe working conditions, and respect for workers’ rights makes for socially responsible manufacturing, contributing to global equity.
Caring for Your Sustainable Sunglasses: Extending their Lifespan and Minimizing Impact
Investing in an eco-friendly pair of shades is smart, but you’ll want them to last. Follow these cleaning, maintenance, and end-of-life care tips to get the most out of your sustainable sunglasses.
- Gentle Cleaning — Use a mild soap and lukewarm water to carefully clean both the frames and lenses. Use a soft, lint-free cloth to clean your lenses, as abrasive materials can scratch them. Always rub gently to avoid causing micro-scratches over time.
- Thorough Rinsing — Rinse your sunglasses thoroughly after cleaning to remove any soap residue.
- Proper Drying — Use a soft, clean microfiber cloth to dry your glasses and prevent water spots.
- Safe Storage — Always store your sunglasses in a hard case when not in use to prevent scratches and damage.
- Regular Inspections — Keep an eye on your frames for loose screws and tighten them as needed.
- Adjustments — If the arms of your sunglasses get bent out of shape, adjust them back into their proper alignment.
What to Do When Your Sunglasses Reach End of Life
When your sunglasses have served their purpose and it’s time to retire them, consider these eco-friendly options:
- Brand Recycling Programs — Some brands offer recycling programs and will take back old pairs for recycling or repurposing.
- Third-Party Recycling Companies — Consider sending your glasses to companies like Terracycle, which specialize in recycling hard-to-reuse materials.
- Upcycling — Get creative and explore DIY projects to upcycle old frames into artwork or jewelry.
- Donations — If your sunglasses are still in good condition, consider donating them to charitable organizations.
- Local Recycling — As a last resort, recycle metal and plastic components of your sunglasses through your local municipal recycling programs.
With proper care and maintenance, your sustainable shades can stylishly shade your eyes for many seasons before their next life. Follow these tips to do your part for the planet while protecting your eyes.
The Best Sustainable Sunglasses Brands
Sunglasses are a fun way to express your personal style while protecting your eyes, but it’s important to consider their impact on the environment. With growing awareness around sustainability, more and more brands are stepping up to offer eco-friendly sunglasses made from recycled, renewable, and responsibly-sourced materials.
But with so many options out there, how do you know which brands truly walk the walk when it comes to sustainability? We’ve done the research to bring you our picks for the best sustainable sunglasses brands that combine ethics with aesthetics.
We looked at several key factors that define a truly eco-friendly brand:
- Materials – We favored brands that use recycled metals, sustainable wood, and plant-based plastics in their frames and avoid toxic chemicals in their lenses.
- Manufacturing – We highlighted brands that implement renewable energy, ethical working conditions, and waste-reducing practices in their facilities.
- Company Practices – We looked for brands that are B-Corp certified, donate to environmental causes, or implement internal sustainability programs.
- Style – Of course the sunglasses still need to look great! We picked brands with stylish, versatile designs to complement any summer look.
The brands we selected excel in these areas while offering quality sunglasses that will protect your eyes for years to come. Read on to discover our top picks for sustainable sunnies!
|Styles||Round, Wayfarer, Cat Eye, Square|
|Materials||Flax Straw Material and Cellulose Acetate|
|Price Range||$29.21 – 47.95|
|Where to Buy?||PelaCase.com|
Originally creating iPhone cases, Pela ventured into the eyewear realm with their compostable sunglasses made of recycled materials and ocean plastics. Using 33% less carbon, 34% less water and creating 82% less waste compared to conventional sunglasses, this stylish sunwear comes in a range of styles to fit every need. They also offer a flexible pricing model where customers can choose between three different prices for the glasses, allowing people from all economic backgrounds to enjoy sustainable sunglasses.
|Styles||Sport, Aviator, Wayfarer, Round|
|Where to buy?||Sunski.com|
Sunski’s sunglasses are designed mindfully for those with an insatiable appetite for adventure and sustainability. They invented their signature material, SuperLight which is made of a revolutionary recycled polymer that uses scrap plastic to make their signature frames. They have a fashion collection for men, women, and kids as well as sport and snow collections that feature removable magnetic sun shields. For those wanting to try before they buy, they have a virtual try-on that features a 3D model so clients can see how the sunglass style fits their face.
|Styles||Wayfarer, Round, Aviator|
|Materials||Recycled Skateboards, Acetate, Wood|
|Where to buy?||Woodzee.com|
Woodzee’s recycled skateboard series creatively recycles skateboards to create one-of-a-kind sunglasses for those who want to stand out. Available in both sizes small and medium/large, no two sunglasses are the same and each has its own unique story. For those wanting a more classic pair, Woodzee also has a range of sunglasses sustainably made of acetate and wood. To further recycling efforts, customers can turn in their old or broken Woodzee sunnies to be recycled and receive 50% off their next pair.
|Styles||Wayfarer, Aviator, Square, Browline, Round, Cat Eye|
|Where to buy?||Zeyelo.com|
Handcrafted in Greece, Zeyelo’s sustainable line of sunnies are made of walnut wood and treated with pharmaceutical paraffin oil to make the wood water-repellant. Their styles are reminiscent of days spent basking in the sun along the Aegean coastline with the soft lines of the frames representing the gentle waves of the sea. They also have an exclusive collection of sunglasses made from a beloved fishing boat that belonged to the founder’s grandfather. Celebrating life on the water, these durable sunglasses are meant to last for many summers to follow.
|Styles||Round, Aviator, Square, Browline, Keyhole|
|Materials||Sustainably-Sourced Wood, Acetate, Recycled Aluminum|
|Where to buy?||IWantProof.com|
Appearing on Shark Tank, Proof Eyewear continue to build their sustainable sunglasses empire with styles made of sustainably sourced wood, biodegradable acetate, and recycled aluminum. For each pair sold, they plant five trees in areas of Africa through the Eden Reforestation Project. They have also given back to communities by funding eye clinics in places of need such as India, Nepal, and Uganda, providing over 7,000 health and vision screenings since 2011.
|Materials||Recycled plastic polymers from plastic bottles|
|Where to buy?||GlassesUSA.com|
SeaClean glasses are tackling single-use plastic head on with their frames composed entirely of upcycled plastic bottles. Each pair is comprised of five plastic bottles and they are available with prescription or non-prescription lenses, making it easy to sport sustainable eyewear day or night. For each pair sold, they donate $5 to The Ocean Cleanup which works to extract plastic waste from our waterways. Additionally, each frame comes with a recycled plastic pouch to protect your eyewear.
|Styles||Square, Keyhole, Aviator, Wayfarer|
Recycled Marine Plastic
|Price Range||$95.50 – 181.50|
|Where to buy?||Sea2See.org|
Sea2See’s revolutionary technology utilizes recycled marine plastic to create classic eyewear. Their signature UPSEA material is made from marine plastic collected by fishermen in Spain, France, and West Africa, with one frame approximately equalling 1 kilogram of plastic collected and recycled. Handmade in Italy, Sea2See are Cradle to Cradle Gold Certified and they employ thousands of fishermen and support local communities through their innovative programming. On average, they collect ½ tons of plastic per day and are on a continuous quest to create positive impacts and keep plastic out of oceans.
|Styles||Aviator, Square, Keyhole, Round, Oval, Cat Eye|
|Materials||Recycled Plastic, Acetate|
|Made In||Louisville, Kentucky|
|Where to buy?||ParadigmEyewear.com|
Carefully crafted in Louisville, Paradigm’s sustainable eyewear is focused on mindful design and craftsmanship. Their ISC-certified recycled acetate collection is made of 40% recycled plastic and 60% bio-based acetate, featuring sun lenses made of 50% recycled plastic. Their sustainable company initiatives include purchasing carbon offsets, limited production, and partnering with a local recycling company to recycle demo lenses, models, and more. Their collection includes a range of modern and vintage-inspired designs that are available in eye-catching colorways.
|Styles||Square, Wayfarer, Keyhole|
|Where to buy?||ColorfulStandard.com|
Known for their bright clothing essentials for men and women, Colorful Standard created a line of sustainable sunglasses made of Mazzucchelli bio-based acetate, bringing their colorful design ethos to the accessories realm. These glasses are biodegradable and each pair is stored in a felt case made of recycled plastic bottles. All of their products are made in Europe through localized production and they adhere to European Labor Law
which ensures fair wages and hours.
|Styles||Keyhole, Wayfarer, Round, Square, Aviator|
|Where to buy?||ShopCovry.com|
Female-founded Covry set out to create sustainable glasses that move away from the cookie-cutter ‘one size fits all’ mentality with their inclusive trademarked Elevated Fit frames. Stepping away from traditional industry standards, these frames are created using real people’s measurements. Made of cellulose acetate, they feature longer nose pads, reduced frame curvature, and a narrowed nose bridge for a more comfortable and flattering fit. They offer a home try-on program where customers can try five frames for five days for only $10 which can be credited towards a purchase.
|Styles||Keyhole, Cat Eye, Wayfarer, Square|
|Materials||Castor Seed Oil, Recycled Metal, Recycled Ocean Plastic|
|Where to buy?||Eco-Eyewear.com|
Eco Eyewear’s carbon-negative eyewear began in 2009 as the world’s first sustainable eyewear brand determined to make a difference. Made of castor seed oil, recycled metal, and recycled ocean plastic, these revolutionary frames come with a biodegradable cornstarch transport bag and a recycled PET cleaning cloth. Eco Eyewear also plants one tree for every frame purchased. Through this program they have already planted 3.3 million trees, making a lasting ecological impact and support for local communities.
DMY by DMY
|Styles||Oval, Cat Eye, Rectangular, Square|
|Materials||Italian Cellulose Acetate|
|Where to buy?||DMYbyDMY.com|
With celebrity fans including Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Bella Hadid, and Irina Shayk, DMY by DMY’s fashion-forward sunwear is for those wanting to push the boundaries of sustainable style. Made of Italian cellulose acetate, these frames are nostalgic yet timeless and are sure to become a favorite in anyone’s sunwear collection. They are 100% biodegradable and come in compostable protective bags. DMY by DMY also donates 1% of sales to Women for Women International, a charity that helps women survivors of war rebuild their lives.
|Styles||Cat Eye, Round, Square|
|Materials||Italian Cellulose Acetate|
|Where to buy?||ArnoEyewear.com|
Unapologetically quirky, Arno Eyewear’s distinctive frames aren’t meant to blend in. Handcrafted by a family-owned manufacturer in Genova, they are made of cellulose acetate and come with an eco-leather case featuring an adjustable organic cotton strap that can be used in multiple ways. They offer a virtual try-on so you can ensure you pick the perfect frames and reduce returns and additional shipping emissions. Unmatched Italian style ensures the wearer will make a statement wherever they go.
|Styles||Round, Square, Cat Eye, Aviator|
|Materials||Recycled Polycarbonate, Recycled Metals|
|Made In||Italy, China, South Korea, Turkey|
|Where to buy?||KarunEyewear.com|
Partnering with sustainable advocate and renowned actress Shailene Woodley, Karun created a sustainable sunglasses collection made of recycled metals and recycled polycarbonate. Designed with love in Patagonia, Karun transparently shares the carbon footprint of each product with an aim to further reduce their environmental impact. They also have a recycling program where customers can send in their eyewear to receive 25% off their next pair.
|Styles||Wayfarer, Round, Rectangle|
|Materials||Recycled Fishing Nets|
|Where to buy?||Styles available on |
Joining forces with glasses brand Costa, Bureo combined their innovative technology to create a line of sunglasses responsibly made of recycled fishing nets. They are fit with mineral glass lenses to avoid the use of plastic and these lense feature Costa’s patented technology that enhances definition and sharpness. These performance frames feature interior rubber temple grips to allow for active days and designed to be fully recyclable and circular.