Sustainable sunglasses are a hot topic here at TreeHugger. We've seen sunnies made from recycled stainless steel, repurposed plastic, and bamboo, but castor bean oil? This plant-based resin is new to the eco-accessory scene. But Zeal Optics is tapping, what they call, "Z-Resin," for all frames in their 2013 collection of men's and women's sunglasses, which come in styles that will suit anyone who wants to balance function and fashion.
Based in Boulder, Colorado, Zeal aims to incorporate sustainable practices into their everyday operations. They use Forest Stewardship Council certified paper when possible and recently moved their headquarters to a newly-renovated space that was constructed using beetle kill wood. "We create products that need to make a positive impact on the environment, because our lifestyle depends on it," Joe Prebich, Zeal's director of marketing, said in a press release. "Preserving the environment we enjoy every day will always be a priority [for Zeal].”
Zeal is positioning their brand as "the only sunglass line in the world with every frame built out of a plant-based resin." The key words being "every frame." We previously reported that Smith Sport Optics used Pebax Rnew, a castor-oil-based plastic resin in their “Evolve” sunglass collection from 2010.
Beyond eyewear, Pebax Rnew has been used in ski boots and sneakers. The North Face has also taken note of the renewable alternative for fossil fuel petroleum-based products: they re-released their Venture Jacket Spring 2011 with the inclusion of castor oil into its HyVent DT EC waterproof/breathable membrane.