Modo Breaks Out New, 95% Recycled Eyewear. But Are We Impressed?

MODO-eco-purple-sunglasses photo

Image Credit: Earth Conscious Optics

Eyewear company Modo is looking to make a big splash with its new line of green eyeglasses, called ECO- Earth Conscious Optics. For around $130, you can look good and feel better, knowing that your designer eye wear is made from at least 95- if not 100- percent recycled stainless steel and repurposed plastic. Modo is touting the new line as "a radically new approach to eyewear," which "reinterprets the whole product lifecycle in an environmentally sustainable way." But they're certainly not the first eyewear company to style themselves as sustainable, as points out.So what's special about the ECO brand? They make a big deal of being one of the hundreds of green businesses teamed up with Trees for the Future, the non-profit that promises to plant a tree for every pair of eyewear sold. Touting the slogan, "one frame, one tree," it's a nice idea, but not an overwhelmingly impressive one.

The glasses themselves are nice: they are designer, after all. But they're hardly groundbreaking. Personally, I'm more wowed by the creative and surprising work of Urban Spectacles, the Chicago-based outfit that makes frames entirely out of wood, and sometimes from more far-fetched materials, such as records and bicycles.

But it's not fair to overly criticize Modo for its green efforts, and it cannot be accused of greenwashing. The new line of eye wear has been given an impressive Environmental Claims Validation by the independent, third-party UL Environment. And Modo not only encourages customers to donate their old specs to developing countries, but makes it easy to do so. Not to mention the fact that ECO made it to the top of TreeHugger's 5 Sizzling Sustainable Sunglasses For Soaking in the Rays list last summer.

To see the eye-glass half-full, it's encouraging that this sort of eco-friendly business model is becoming more the norm than the exception. ECO may not be the innovative leader in the field it purports itself to be, but it's still pushing even more businesses to follow its good example. Hopefully, many will. And in the end, that's pretty darn good.

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