A must for bright days, beach vacays or tropical living, sunglasses don’t just protect your peepers from the sun, they add the finishing touch to your summery ensemble. But we’ve got news for you: traditional shades aren’t made in the most eco-friendly way. Whether fast fashion or luxury brand names, sunglasses are normally crafted from non-biodegradable plastic, derived from petroleum and crude oil. Yes, that means all the sunglasses you’ve lost or thrown out over the years are likely still out there, polluting landfills or the environment.
Thankfully, the tides are turning; you can now find sustainable sunglasses brands as alternatives, and we’ve created a living list of our favourites for you here. Combining versatile, contemporary styles with ethical practices, these up-and-coming labels use more earth-friendly material alternatives like cork, bamboo, bio-acetate and recycled plastic. What’s more, they’re also dedicated to donating profits back to people and planet.
1. Proof Eyewear
Proof eyewear was founded by 3 brothers in 2021 and embraces the idea of being global citizens by doing good around the world. Their glasses are handcrafted from FSC-Certified wood, cotton-based acetate, recycled aluminium and re-purposed skateboard decks, making them eco-friendly products that give back as from each purchase, $10 goes to a Do Good program that supports local and global projects. Their styles are classic and casual, sustainable and recyclable too! The brand also donates part of its profits to ethical causes every year.
Unita Wood EBONY STRIPE SPLIT, $110 USD
Elmore Acetate CRYSTAL PEACH, $90 USD
Eagle Aluminum COPPER, $110 USD
2. Colorful Standard
With over 300 pairs to choose from, it’ll be hard to pick your favourite Colorful Standard sunglasses. Not only are their glasses stylish and fun, but they are fully compostable and created from renewable, plant-based materials such as FSC certified cellulose acetate and wood. They strive for zero waste through sustainable production techniques and they ensure that their workers are paid fair wages with safe working conditions. Their UV400 lenses will keep you well protected from the sun’s harsh rays as well as stylish. These sunglasses, being 100% biodegradable, are made to last!
03 DEEP BLACK/DARK PINK, $115 USD
07 CLASSIC HAVANA/BROWN, $115 USD
11, IVORY WHITE/LIGHT PINK, $115 USD
3. MITA Eyewear
MITA Eyewear offers cool, lightweight styles made from recycled plastic bottles. They are a Miami based brand, inspired by the city’s vibrancy, which they reflect in their trendy styles. MITA makes each of their optics and sunglasses from 5 recycled plastic water bottles each, while their lenses are biodegradable and offer 100% UV protection. As of now, MITA has recycled over 81,000 water bottles to help better Europe’s and the US’s low recycling rates. What’s more, they even makes their cleaning cloths and cases from recycled materials.
Lincoln SHINY BROWN DEMI/GREEN LENSES, $129 USD
The Wave MATTE BLUE/SMOKE LENSES, $129 USD
Sole BLACK/GRADIENT SMOKE LENSES, $129 USD
The first UK eyewear company to become a certified B Corp, Bird makes all of their glasses using recycled materials, including wood and metals, renewable cork, and bio acetate, a popular plastic alternative. They create quality sunglasses putting sustainability at the forefront and give back through the Share a Sun program (helps to distribute solar light to families in Zambia and Malawi). Additionally, Bird uses water based acrylic dyes to colour their wooden frames and they use recycled plastic bottles to make their cleaning cloths.
Kaka HONEY, £99 GBP
Finch, £129 GBP
Apollo Aviator GOLD, £99 GBP
5. Peep Eyewear
Calling all vintage shoppers–Peep Eyewear is the place to go for stylish frames! Peep supports sustainable purchasing practices by sourcing “stand-out vintage” eyewear so you can find your perfect unique pair. Shopping second hand is a good way to offset your carbon footprint but Peep even goes a step further and plants a tree for every pair of sunglasses purchased and offers restoration services where they’ll remove scratches or use oiling and polishing to revitalise your favourite pair of glasses. And if you’re just looking to throw out old glasses, you can send them into Peep to either recycle them or upcycle and restore them for you. Vintage shopping is a great way to purchase sustainable sunglasses.
Dune, £176 GBP
Cleo, £126 GBP
Lilac, £126 GBP
6. Pala Eyewear
Pala eyewear is an ethical brand that supports eye-care initiatives in Africa with every pair of sunglasses sold by providing grants to vision centres, dispensaries and screening programmes. They make their frames using recycled material from factory off-cuts and they replace plastic with bio-acetate on their sustainable sunglasses. Committed to making a positive impact with their business, they are not only environmentally friendly but give back to organisations in need, believing in putting people and the planet before profits. Plus, their frames are sleek and unique too!
Lich Flint, £110 GBP
Buonjo Lychee, £125 GBP
Baobab BLACK, £130 GBP
Member of 1% For The Planet and a certified carbon neutral company, Sunski does it all. They are one of the original polarised sustainable sunglasses brands, and they make all their frames with recycled materials from landfills. Their packaging is plastic free and to date, they’ve donated over $150,000 to environmental causes. Furthermore, Sunski offers frames in a variety of styles and colours that all come with a lifetime warranty and will fix your glasses if anything happens to them. There’s even a virtual try-on system on their website to preview how a pair of shades will look on you.
Camina TORTOISE AMBER, $58 USD
Bernina BLACK SLATE, $98 USD
Makani SIENNA TERRA FADE, $58 USD
SWWAY, formerly known as Pela Vision, is a sustainable, ethical, and affordable eyewear brand that is Climate Neutral certified, certified B Corp, and a member of 1% For The Planet. They offer a range of classic and modern styles that are biodegradable and free of traditional metal pieces and hinges. If you’re looking to make the sustainable sunglasses switch, you can send in your old glasses to SWWAY and they’ll recycle and reuse your sunnies. Opening local distribution centres to reduce overseas shipping and offsetting their entire carbon footprint with carbon credits, the company is constantly finding new ways to implement sustainability initiatives. They even donate a percentage of every sale to ocean cleanup programs.
Solana LAVENDER, $64.95 USD
Nusa ROSE TORTOISE, $74.95 USD
Cocos LATTE, $64.95 USD
9. Truth & All
Singapore based brand, Truth & All, doesn’t use recycled plastic in their products, but uses bio-based acetate instead. This material is made from sustainable wood, cotton and natural resins, meaning it is entirely biodegradable and eco-friendly. Truth & All supports fair wages and ethical working conditions, and each pair of frames is handmade by a small family-run company in Greece. Their lenses have a scratch resistant coating and are UV400, meaning they are 100% UVA and UVB protective. Each pair of sunnies comes with a recycled felt and leather case and a recycled microfibre cloth, the entire product line offers sustainability and quality.
Dolphin BLACK & CRYSTAL, $187 SGD
Gull HAVANA, $187 SGD
Marlin CRYSTAL, $174 SGD
10. COCO LENI
The COCO LENI house offers quality and excellence in every pair of bespoke frames. They specialise in high-end sustainable sunglasses, with a focus on using traditional skills and craftsmanship. COCO LENI uses only eco-friendly materials, such as sustainable wood, ethically-sourced buffalo horn and bamboo, and Italian bio acetate. Not only that, but they also plant a tree for every pair of glasses sold–and each one is GPS labelled and photographed. For classic, timeless eyewear, COCO LENI is the place to look.
Hermann TRANSPARENT | BLACK BUFFALO, $133 SGD
Glockner BLACK | TRANSLUCENT LIGHT BROWN, $237 SGD
Zweig BROWN | BLACK ON BLONDE BUFFALO, $273 SGD
Samantha is an American studying in Singapore with a passion for sustainability and strong belief in expressive style. When she isn't doing school work, you can find her casually writing or thrifting!