Sustainability in the Sunglasses Industry

Sustainable Sunglasses available from The Eyewear Stylist in Media City, Manchester
Around the whole world, climate change and the environmental impact of human activity is a hot topic. With environmental disasters like the current mass flooding in India raging, weekly headlines reminding us of the melting ice caps or rising carbon emissions, and global initiatives like COP26 bringing together world leaders to discuss a unified response, it’s undoubtable that the environment is one of the major themes of the 21st century zeitgeist.

This has affected all industries and, understandably, everyone’s trying to be more sustainable with their fashion choices right now. The recent unveiling of the sheer amount of waste generated by the fast fashion industry has understandably shocked many people, changing consumer behaviours and with them encouraging even the couture fashion houses to be more considerate and conscious when it comes to the consumption and disposal of their clothing and accessories.

Sustainability might not be something you think about when purchasing sunglasses – but when you consider that most sunwear products (even expensive or designer products, on occasion) are made from cheap plastic which will eventually end up in landfill, it’s easy to see the collective impact we make when we choose to buy consciously.

Sunglasses are usually made to be disposable and dispensable and might last a season or two – but through investing in better quality sunwear, made from more sustainable materials, we can lessen the amount of plastic piling up in landfill.

I have a few options available which are much more eco-conscious, including my wooden frames, wood-based acetate, and super-cool recycled vinyl frames (which repurpose a whopping 3 tonnes of vinyl waste which would otherwise have ended up in landfill each year). But by default, selecting high-quality sunglasses and glasses is much more sustainable than buying cheaper frames which won’t last too long. Purchasing one pair which will last you 5 years when you would have bought one each year saves 4 frames from landfill – which adds up considerably if everyone takes this approach.

One thing to be mindful of here – greenwashing. Lots of brands are out there peddling mass-produced, plastic sunglasses which are marketed as sustainable options but are in fact far from eco-friendly! So always vet your supplier properly before ordering if sustainability is important to you.

If you’re looking for sustainable sunglasses, I have ranges designed specifically with the environment in mind! Check out my coffee-based recycled eyewear collection, or these incredible anti-ageing glasses.