Although sunglasses made from recycled plastic are a great idea for pottering around town or the garden, they are not such a good idea if you are at the beach or a sailor. Because if you accidentally lost them, they obviously don’t biodegrade in the sea, and could harm marine life. So here are some biodegradable frames (obviously the lenses are not yet biodegradable, but let’s start where we are). Ecocult has a good post on issues with ‘recycled plastic sunglasses’. Also see safe & natural sun protection.
It can be confusing buying sunglasses. In a nutshell, look for ones that carry the European Standard CE Mark, UV 400 or British Standard Mark, for a safe level of protection. Ensuring sunglasses for driving are in the 0 to 3 filter category (4 is too dark) and don’t use ones with scratches, keep glasses in their protective case. It’s important to measure your pupillary distance before you buy, to avoid eyestrain.
These sunglasses are made with biodegradable materials. These will compost at landfill under the right conditions (not in your home compost bin). There are several things going on around the world – in Ukraine, someone has even invented sunglasses made from waste coffee grounds!
Bird has become the first to be certified as environmentally-sustainable with B-Corp. All their materials are sustainable and cruelty-free, and they give back by providing solar light to people in developing countries. The sunglasses are sold in beautiful cork (no trees cut down) cases, and the cleaning cloths are made from recycled plastic bottles. Even the mailing bags are made from sugar cane.
The frames are made from bamboo and wood and built to last, and then will biodegrade, while the laminated wood aluminium frames can be separated and recycled. You can alternatively send frames back for recycling, and get a 50% discount on the next pair. The site has a face shape guide and virtual try-on service.
BioSunnies offers affordable sunglasses made from wheat straw (burning wheat straw that’s left over after harvesting causes air pollution, so this helps use it up and gives extra income to farmers to look after their land). The polarised lenses offer full UVA and UVB protection to eliminate harmful glare from water and snow. The glasses are sold in Kraft cases that fold flat, when not in use. There is also a range for children.
Uunique Unisex Sunglasses have bamboo frames and polarised thermal cures lenses, for clear vision and to protect against glare and UV radiation. They feature an eco case made from bamboo wood and an anti-reflective coating to withstand accidental impact. Each pair has stunning wood grain and is available in several colours: blue, beige, black/beige, black, red or yellow. 1% of proceeds go to eco charities.
Wooden Unisex Lenos Sunglasses are made with polarised thermal cured lenses and an anti-reflective coating, sold in a bamboo case. In beige or tan.