In honor of Earth Day, I have written a series of articles about eco-conscious eye care, starting with eyewear. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it gives an indication of how the optical industry is changing and evolving. The following five companies go beyond style to uphold a philosophy of environmental ethics that include eco-friendly eyewear made from recycled, repurposed, renewable, or bio-based materials. Whether pioneering new ways to incorporate sustainable materials or using handcrafted production methods to reduce their environmental footprint, the world looks greener as a result of their innovation and commitment to the cause. Furthermore, many of the companies donate a portion of sales to charities that range from environmental preservation to eye care in developing countries.
Dizm Eyewear is a sunglass company based in Hermosa Beach, California. Instead of using petroleum-based plastic that continues to fuel global dependence on oil, Dizm makes its frames from plant-based BioSan plastic, which is recyclable, renewable, biodegradable, and compostable. Their sunglasses feature polarized lenses, 100% UV protection, and durable, stainless steel hinges. They also have an Eco lens, which is made from 50% renewable plant-based plastic.
ECO is a brand of MODO, a New York City-based eyewear company. The ECO Bio-based collection is made from 63% plant-based materials that come from renewable non-food oil, certified by the USDA. The ECO Recycled collection is the only eyewear brand in the world made of 95% recycled materials. Plus, they are certified by UL Environment, so with every purchase of ECO frames, you minimize the use of new resources. In addition, MODO collaborates with Trees for the Future and plants one tree for every frame purchased; they boast that, so far, over 1.5 million trees have been planted.
“We have a responsibility to leave the world a better place than how we found it. Together with Trees for the Future, ONE FRAME – ONE TREE is making a positive impact not only on the environment, but for the people.”
– Alessandro Lanaro, CEO MODO
Proof Eyewear is a family-run startup with a flagship store in Boise, Idaho. Their ECO (Environmentally Conscious Optics) collection features sunglasses that are completely renewable, biodegradable, and sustainable. Frames are handcrafted from sustainable materials including FSC-certified woods (such as bamboo, zebrawood, ebony, mahogany, etc.), cotton-based acetate, old skateboard decks, and recycled aluminum. Proof’s sunglasses are water-resistant, with top-grade polarized lenses and stainless steel hinges. As an extra touch, every pair of glasses comes with custom laser-engraved quotes on the inside of each frame, such as “Don’t Forget Your Roots.” Plus, you can send back your outdated Proof frames to be recycled, and receive a 50% discount off your next pair.
P.S. if you use this link, you’ll get $10 off your first purchase of $50 or more!
Shwood makes sunglasses by hand in Portland, Oregon. The frames are made from natural materials, including wood, stone, titanium, and cellulose acetate (a renewable material made from cotton and wood pulp). You should check out their special experimental collections, which feature frames crafted with newspaper, oxidized brass, and wood from Louisville Slugger baseball bats. In their new Desert Cactus Collection, they use high-pressure resin casting to craft frames with genuine dried cactus skeleton and domestic walnut hardwood.
P.S. if you use this link, you’ll get $20 off your first purchase of $100 or more!
ZEAL Optics is a company based in Boulder, Colorado that sells sunglasses and winter sports goggles, all made from plant-based materials. ZEAL’s sunglasses incorporate an eco-clean resin made out of castor bean oil, an incredibly durable and light plastic alternative, and biodegradable acetate, made from cotton and wood pulp. The polarized lenses are coated with a plant-based product called ellume. This material replaces traditional petroleum-based plastics, thereby significantly reducing the amount of CO2 produced. ZEAL donates a portion of sales to various charities ranging from community outreach to environmental preservation, such as The 5 Gyres Institute — a non-profit organization dedicated to researching the issue of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans. In honor of Earth Day, ZEAL has collaborated with the American Forest Foundation to plant a tree for every purchase made until the end of the month.
The next installment of the Eco-Conscious Eye Care Series will cover a different type of eyewear: Contact Lenses.
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