Your Guide to Eco-Friendly, Sustainable Sunglasses

Welcome to the world of sustainable eyewear! If you're looking for a new pair of sunglasses for the summer, then you've come to the right place. The following companies go beyond style to embrace an environmental ethic that stands out in an industry mostly focused on cheap plastic production. Instead, these sunglasses are made from recycled, repurposed, renewable, or bio-based materials. Better yet, many of the companies donate a portion of sales to charities that provide eye care in developing countries.

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Dizm Eyewear

credit: Dizm - Eco Sadie sunglasses, $85

Dizm Eyewear is based in Hermosa Beach, California. The company prides itself in selling sunglasses that offer all the usual features consumers want -- polarized lenses, 100% UV protection, and durable stainless steel hinges -- but without the petroleum-based plastic frames that continue to fuel global dependence on oil. Instead, Dizm makes its frames from plant-based BioSan plastic, which is biodegradable, recyclable, compostable, and renewable. If you choose from its line of Eco lenses, those are also made from 50% renewable plant-based plastic. The Eco Collection has both handmade and injected options that range in price from $70 - $125. Order online.

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ZEAL Optics

credit: ZEAL Optics - Kennedy sunglasses, $149

ZEAL Optics is a company based in Boulder, Colorado, that uses plant-based materials in all its sunglass frames and lenses. They are made out of castor bean oil, an incredibly durable and light plastic alternative without the footprint of petroleum, and biodegradable acetate, made from American-grown cotton and wood pulp. The polarized lenses are coated with a plant-based product called Ellume. ZEAL donates a portion of sales to charities that range from getting kids out in nature to environmental preservation. Sunglasses range in price from $89 - $249. Order online.

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credit: Woodwear -- Gaslamp Zebra Wood Sunglasses, $95

Woodwear, a company from Hermosa Beach, California, sells handmade sunglasses that are made out of sustainable materials, such as bamboo and zebra wood. A popular renewable material, bamboo is actually a grass that grows eight times faster than hardwood. It matures rapidly, and is not killed by harvesting. It is a durable and moisture-resistant material, which is excellent for a product like sunglasses that gets heavy use. The sunglasses have polarized lenses and stainless steel hinges. Frames range in price from $60 - $95. Shipping is free domestically, with a $13 flat rate for international. Order online.

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SOLO Eyewear

credit: SOLO -- Trinidad sunglasses, $95

SOLO Eyewear makes polarized sunglasses with repurposed bamboo arms on the frames. The company's main focus is on charity, with each purchase funding prescription glasses and eye surgeries for people in developing countries. So far, SOLO states that 10,000 people in 32 countries have been helped by sales of their sunglasses. There is a wide selection of styles available, some with funky painted arms, all named after the countries that have been assisted. Order online.

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credit: Shwood - Canby Stone Sunglasses, $380

Shwood makes its sunglasses by hand in Portland, Oregon. The frames are made from natural materials, including wood, stone, responsibly sourced titanium, and cellulite acetate (which is a biodegradable material made from cotton and wood pulp). The frames featured in the photo above are made of slate fused with birch and walnut woods. (Don't worry - not all the frames are that expensive!) Prices range from $139 - $380. Shwood has free international shipping. View the variety of styles available and order online.

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credit: MODO - Biobased 'Rio Grande' Sunglasses

Modo is a New York City-based company that sells sunglasses, as well as regular eye-glass frames. Its Eco collection consists of biobased sunglasses (made with 63% biobased material that comes from renewable non-food oil and is certified by the USDA) and recycled sunglasses (made with 95% recycled content). MODO plants one tree for every frame purchased and boasts that, so far, 1 million trees have been planted in Cameroon thanks to sales. Links to specific Eco collections are above. Find a store for purchase here. Online shopping not available.

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Proof Eyewear

credit: Proof Eyewear - Cosmo Skate Sunglasses, $125

Proof Eyewear specializes in 'Environmentally Conscious Optics' (ECO) that are completely renewable, biodegradable, and hypoallergenic. The frames are made from FSC-certified woods (such as bamboo, pear wood, ebony, etc.), old skateboard decks, cotton-based acetate, and recycled aluminum. The sunglasses come with laser-engraved quotes on the inside of each frame. They are water-resistant, with top-grade polarized lenses and stainless steel spring-loaded hinges. The sunglasses are made in Boise, Idaho, where Proof's flagship store is located. Prices start around $95 (although there is currently a sale on which is worth checking out!). Order online.

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credit: Panda - Natural Bamboo Sunglasses, $120

Panda is a company concerned with both environment and ethics. It donates a large portion of profits to providing sight to people in need, while selling premium handcrafted, sustainable bamboo sunglasses. The frames have a waterproof coating; they will float on water, too. The manufacturing process strives to use the bamboo as efficiently as possible to minimize waste. Panda offers free worldwide shipping and a lifetime guarantee for all frames. You can order online.

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Waiting for the Sun

credit: Waiting For The Sun - Brigitte Corso, 140 Euros ($156 USD)

European company Waiting for the Sun was founded by two young friends who wished to create wooden sunglasses at an affordable price (less than 140 Euros). Their collection is beautiful, made of bamboo and oak. There are other frames made of biodegradable acetate. You cannot order frames online, but visit the list of international stockists to find out where you can buy.