Spring is officially here! The rainy days are finally turning into sunny ones! It’s the time of the year that makes our freckles show up again and lets us accessorize with our favourite sunglasses. We at ASHIFT are excited about all the options and possibilities of available shades, from minimalist to funky. What are the best sustainable sunglasses? We wouldn’t be us if we didn’t first look at what the environmental and social impact of sunglasses are, right?
Many sunglasses and glasses are made from acetate, which is a cellulosic material, so to say a cousin of rayon viscose. This means the base of it is from plants mostly tree pulp. In commercial processes, acetate is unsustainable since it is processed with a chemical cocktail from acids and sulfuric acid that can be dangerous at high concentrations and when heated. This also makes acetate a semi-synthetic material, hence also harder to biodegrade. The good thing is that acetate can be sustainable, for instance when talking about Bio-based acetate made completely from biodegradable plant sources. But now enough about the science excursus here is our selection of beautiful and affordable sustainable sunglasses made from brands that challenge industry standards, serve a social purpose and offer the best protection for your eyes!
We start by looking at the vintage-inspired bio acetate shade from the brand Nolands. Born in Barcelona and surrounded by the Mediterranean Nolands aims to develop quality and sustainable sunglasses for conscious souls. They consider themselves a slow business that values craftsmanship where dedication overtops productivity and senseless velocity. We love it! Their sunglasses are a result of balancing creativity, integrity with innovation and a clear vision on quality and design. I mean what more do you want? Other than sitting in Barcelona right now and enjoying some tapas in the sun while wearing echo polarized sunnies of course! Further, they have resolved to destine 5% of every purchase in their online shop, to environmental and charity projects such as WeForest and 1% for the planet.
Price Range: 190€
And since we are already in Spain – at least in our heads, we want to look at the pretty cool brand Parafina. Founded in 2014 in Madrid by three friends with the aim to offer the optician world a sustainable and affordable alternative. And this is what they have managed to do! All their sunglasses cost between 39,85€ and 79,85€ and are made from 100% recycled materials. We can recommend their sustainable sunglasses for the sporty types under us! The sunglasses come in a pencil case packaging, which serves as a symbol for their Parafina Social Project. 5% of their profit is donated to children in Paraguay. They all receive the pencil case with an eco pencil that once consumed can be planted to grow a tree. In this way, they hope to reduce the carbon footprint created directly by their products.
Price Range: 39,85-79,85€
Since its inception, KAMO INTERNATIONAL has been producing outstanding eyewear collections consisting of classic, clean silhouettes that are timeless yet with cutting edge shapes. All sunglasses are Danish design and made in Italy and Japan. All their black frames are processed from acetate waste and black ink. For the non-black-coloured frames, they use bio-based acetate. We love the Fantastic Women collection that is celebrating punk feminist badass women complimented with big statement sunglasses. The current collection is in collaboration with Libertine-Libertine and revolves around a world of abstractions, curiosity and limitless subconsciousness. Our team fell in love with their ASIAN CLOUD model in blue with its early nineties inspired silhouettes.
Price Range: 160-335€
If you are looking for a brand that is playful and does not take itself too seriously then the Dutch sunglasses brand Dick Moby might be the perfect option for you. If you want to know what we are talking about look at their “underwater country odyssey” jingle where they address the serious issue of marine pollution in a humorous way. They offer sunglasses made from recycled material and biodegradable acetate made from wood pulp. This means your sunglasses could biodegrade in 115 days if you bury them in compost soil. The southern Italian inspired unisex sunglass Naples is in our opinion for the sporty-chic inspired look we have been loving lately! Or if you’re the ‘go big or go home’ sunglasses type then the Brest model in yellow Havana and brown gradient lenses are the way to go.
Price Range: 175-205€
Did you know that 800,00 tonnes of fishing gear are discarded annually? This is equivalent to 90,000 double-decker busses. Non-biodegradable fishing nets can remain active for up to 600 years which is often then ingested by marine animals. The brand Sea2See wants to create a global consciousness in regards to these issues through sunglasses. On their website, you can transparently see the steps of producing the sunglasses from collecting discarded marine plastic waste from 27 ports of Spain and Ghana to separating the waste between recycling and manufacturing of the sunglasses. Through up-cycling the plastic material and moulding they create timeless and chic sunglasses for affordable prices starting from 85€. In total, they have managed to collect 453.5 tons of plastic already!
Price Range: 85-139€
The unisex sunglasses label based in Stockholm offers a modern look that is created through a mix of simplicity and functionalism. The handcrafted frames are made from recycled acetate, from production leftovers. Normally, more than half of the acetate is thrown away in regular production. For the ones that agree with us that “black is a happy colour” Monokel is perfect. Even though they also offer some colourful options all models are available in black! There is nearly no classic sunglass shape that is not available on there, from squares, retro squares, cat-eye and round shapes. We also love their imagery which reflects on their handcraft and DIY attitude. The SS20 campaign was shot by the co-founder himself behind the scenes of another product shoot with some of his friends that modelled the frames.
Price Range: 99-135€
The danish brand Monkeyglasses with its Nordic look was established in 2009 and so was their sustainable DNA. They created a holistic approach when it comes to their sunglasses design with a big focus on zero waste and reducing their carbon footprint. Currently, 266 g of CO2 is created by the activities in the process of making a pair. A commercial Ray-Ban model can create around 3.72 kg CO2 eq. Since they also develop glasses they offer collecting old glasses when the prescription needs to change and so are not usable anymore for one. You can send them back to them for recycling or they can help someone else that can not afford glasses themselves. One of their expertise is using a super slim material, that is only 4mm thick and very light to create comfortable sunglasses such as their stainless steel PO 45 BLACK sunglasses that give the retro-chic vibe we need!
Price Range: 95-245€
Africa. He was amazed by the people he met there, and the beauty of the landscape. When he later found out that Africa has 73% more visually impaired people than any other region in the world he was eager to found Pala. A pair of glasses is the number one tool to fight poverty – it empowers the wearer by enabling them to read, learn and work. That is why Pala creates kind to the planet sunglasses and with every pair of sunglasses sold, they provide grants to vision centres, dispensaries and screening programmes. This has to date helped thousands of sight-impaired people to live a self-sufficient life. We believe this to be a beautiful cause and their sunglasses are equally beautiful!
Price Range: 94-129€