Sustainable eyewear: what should you look for?

Sustainable eyewear: what should you look for?

Sure, eco-friendly sunglasses seem like a good idea. But do you know what it really means to choose sustainable sunglasses and ethical specs? 

By Alix Nicholson

Sustainability is a word that gets tossed around a fair bit these days and frankly, we’re here for it. Because the more people talk about eco-friendly options, the more people care about doing their bit for the planet – right down to buying sustainable eyewear, apparel and accessories. 

From readers to sunglasses and everything in between, ethical, eco-friendly sunglasses and reading glasses are our passion – and we know a little something about how sustainable specs are changing the eyewear game. Let us guide you through the world of sustainable sunglasses and readers. 


What is sustainable eyewear?

Put simply, sustainable eyewear refers to sunglasses, readers and spectacles that are crafted using eco-friendly and ethical methods, materials and processes. But while many people would think of sustainable eyewear as simply being crafted from eco-friendly materials, it’s so much more.  

Eco-friendly sunglasses brands make a commitment to not only use sustainable materials to craft the frames, lenses and cases they make, but also focus on renewable energy and/or low-waste techniques in the manufacturing of their products, minimising their carbon footprint. And speaking of that footprint, ethical sunglasses brands also often turn their attention to their packaging and transport, choosing recycled/recyclable or bio-based materials and taking action to offset their transport emissions. Phew! 

Why is it important to choose eco-friendly sunglasses and readers? 

We would hope ‘saving the planet’ is good enough reason for anyone to want to choose sustainable eyewear, but if you need a little more detailed convincing, please allow us to spell out the benefits of eco-friendly sunglasses brands! 

Choosing sustainable sunglasses brands can truly be a game changer for the environment. By buying sustainable sunglasses and readers, you can not only help save on natural resources and decrease the amount of waste sent to landfill utilising recycled materials, but also reduce carbon emissions, which can help reduce air pollution and slow climate change.  

But wait, there’s more! Choosing ethical sunglasses brands can also help create jobs for local communities, ensure fair trade (thus improving living and working conditions in poorer countries), and help boost the green economy. And when you nab yourself eco-friendly sunglasses that look good as well as doing good… Well, why wouldn’t you? 


Rating eco-friendly sunglasses brands 

Okay, okay. It’s all very good for companies to talk about their ethically made sunglasses – but how can you be sure the shades you’ve added to cart are truly a planet-friendly choice? Currently, no global rating system exists to determine the sustainability of eyewear, so how the heck can you be really, truly certain you’re doing your part for the planet when you slide on your new shades? 

That’s where we come in. We here at Folkal have not only committed to only stock ethical sunglasses brands; we’ve also put our clever brains trust to work creating a specialised rating system so that you can pick out the very best of the best. Our rating system was developed in conjunction with a leading sustainability advisory company, so you know we're not marking our own homework. 

Before you even set your eyes on our selection of sunnies and readers, all the eco-friendly sunglasses brands featured at Folkal go through our rigorous ratings system (you can read all about how it works right here). We take a close look at the materials used in both the frames and lenses, as well as the manufacturing process and end of life considerations, and give every pair a rating of ‘good’, ‘better’ or ‘best’. And no, we don’t allow anything less than ‘good’ sustainable eyewear on our e-shelves – because you (and the planet) deserve the best. 


Which are the best sustainable sunglasses brands? 

So, we’ve established that not all sustainable sunglasses are created equal – and that while some companies might like to toot their own horns with claims of being ethical sunglasses brands, a little digging is sometimes needed to find out just how planet-friendly they really are. That’s why we decided to pool all the very best sustainable sunglasses brands in one easy-to-shop spot.  

All of the sustainable sunglasses brands available at Folkal have been given our tick of approval, and with so many shapes, styles and lenses to pick from, you’re sure to find a pair of eco-friendly sunglasses or readers you love right here