Shading the Future: The Rise of Sustainable Sunglasses

A tell-all article about everything you need to know about the sustainable sunglasses industry

In our ever-evolving world, sustainability is no longer a mere buzzword; it's a way of life. From electric cars to eco-friendly fashion, consumers are increasingly seeking products that reduce their environmental impact. One such product category that's embracing sustainability is sunglasses. 

Sunglasses are often seen as a simple fashion accessory. I know, I have noticed the rise of more innovative sunglasses. It’s not only a fashion accessory but also a statement piece. There are sunglasses to fit every face type and style out there. Yet, beneath the façade of style and UV protection lies a complex and fascinating tale of sustainability. 

We're diving into the world of sustainable sunglasses, uncovering the hidden challenges, exploring ethical practices, and exposing the innovations that are transforming an industry on the cusp of significant change.

In this article, we'll delve into the fascinating world of sustainable sunglasses, exploring their rise, materials, design, impact on the environment, and future prospects.

Welcome to the untold story of sustainable sunglasses.

The Evolution of Sunglasses

Sunglasses have come a long way from their inception as a tool to protect the eyes from the harsh sun. Today, they are more than just a practical accessory; they're a statement of style and personality. But as the world grapples with climate change and environmental issues, the sunglasses industry is adapting to meet the demand for sustainability.

Sunglasses buy Pela range in price from $35-100. Out of all the sustainable sunglass companies they are definitely one of the more cost-efficient brands. I would say stylistically their stock leans more retro. Pela also sells sustainable phone cases if that's more your thing! Image by Pela. 

History of Sunglasses

Sunglasses can trace their roots back to ancient civilizations. From the Inuit snow goggles to the Roman emperors' emerald lenses, sunglasses have always been in style. But it was the 20th century that transformed them into a fashion statement, driven by Hollywood stars and iconic brands.

The Rise of Sustainable Fashion

The increasing awareness of climate change and the negative impact of the fashion industry has led to the rise of sustainable fashion. From clothing to accessories, consumers are now prioritizing products that are eco-friendly and ethically made. Sunglasses, being a fashion accessory, are no exception to this trend.

Materials and Manufacturing use in Sustainable Sunglasses 

The foundation of sustainable sunglasses lies in the materials used. Wood, recycled plastics, bamboo, cork – we'll unpack these materials, their unique qualities, and their role in reducing the carbon footprint of the industry.

Sustainability in sunglasses starts with the choice of materials and the manufacturing process. Let's explore the various sustainable materials used to create eco-friendly sunglasses.


Wooden sunglasses are gaining popularity for their natural and stylish appeal. Wood is a renewable resource, and when sourced responsibly, it's an excellent material for sunglasses frames.

Recycled Plastics

Many sustainable sunglasses are made from recycled plastics, such as discarded water bottles and fishing nets. These materials help reduce the demand for new plastic production and minimize waste.


Bamboo is a fast-growing, renewable resource that is lightweight and durable. It's an ideal material for both frames and packaging. It’s not only used for sunglasses but the fibers have been used to make other sociable items like tote bags. Bamboo tends to grow in large clusters so we have more than enough of it to use without harming the environment. 


Cork, often associated with wine stoppers, is also used for sunglass frames. It's lightweight, durable, and sourced from sustainable cork oak trees.

Image of Mita sunglasses modeled on a guy and a girl. 
Sunglass by Mita, priced at 139+ dollars. Mita works with nonprofits to help clean up the ocean. Their sunglasses are made from five water bottles and then turned into the stylish sunglasses you see above. Mita’s Sunglasses are a mix of boho, modern, and retro. They have a ton of styles to fit different consumers. Image by Mita.

Design and Style choices to consider when shopping for sustainable sunglasses

Sustainability doesn't mean compromising on style. Sustainable sunglasses come in a wide variety of designs, ensuring that consumers can look good while making an eco-friendly choice.

When looking for sustainable sunglasses that fit your style it's no different than shopping for clothes. There are going to be some brands that fit your vibe more than others. It may take a while but you’ll find the sunglasses for you with time. 

In this section, we'll explore how designers are pushing the boundaries of creativity, offering consumers a wide range of fashionable and sustainable sunglasses, proving that one doesn't have to compromise for the other.

Classic Styles

Sustainable sunglasses are available in classic styles, including wayfarers, aviators, and cat-eye frames. These timeless designs appeal to a broad range of consumers.


Some brands allow customers to personalize their sunglasses, choosing frame and lens colors to match their style preferences.

High-End Fashion

Luxury brands are also embracing sustainability. High-end sustainable sunglasses can be found on the market, proving that eco-friendliness and luxury can coexist.

 Image of Zenni glasses that turn into sunglasses in the sun!
Zenni is a completely online realtor who sells sustainable sunglasses and glasses. The price of their product ranges from as little as $25 to $150. The great thing about Zenni is they sell glasses as well so you can get your prescription made into your sunglasses and they’re very customizable. They have a range of styles so you’re bound to find something you like! Image by Zenni.

Environmental Impact: A Green Awakening

Many of us may not be aware of the environmental price we pay for that pair of sunglasses perched on our noses. From carbon emissions to plastic waste, this section uncovers the hidden costs that come with manufacturing and discarding conventional sunglasses.

The fashion industry, notorious for its environmental impact, is experiencing a profound awakening. Sustainability has become a mantra, and this paradigm shift is rapidly expanding into accessories such as sunglasses. 

The production of sunglasses, like any other consumer product, has an environmental impact. Sustainable sunglasses aim to minimize that impact in various ways.

We'll delve into the motivations behind this change and the broader implications it holds for consumers and the planet.

Reduced Carbon Footprint

Sustainable sunglasses often have a lower carbon footprint, thanks to eco-friendly materials and manufacturing processes.

Plastic Waste Reduction

By using recycled plastics or alternative materials, sustainable sunglasses help reduce the amount of plastic waste in landfills and oceans.

Responsible Sourcing

Brands that prioritize sustainability ensure that their materials are sourced responsibly, respecting ecosystems and communities.

Social Impact

Sustainability in sunglasses extends beyond environmental concerns. Many brands also focus on creating a positive social impact.

Ethical Labor Practices

Sustainable sunglasses brands often promote ethical labor practices, ensuring fair wages and safe working conditions for their employees.

Community Support

Some brands work closely with local communities, providing job opportunities and supporting social initiatives in the areas where they operate.

Male model showing off Proof sunglasses. 
Glasses by Proof has been known for their high-quality sustainable sunglasses. They’ve had influential celebrities modeling their products for ages. The Price is a little steep coming in at $120. Proof also partners with organizations to plant trees for each order placed. Image by Proof. 

The Future of Sustainable Sunglasses

The sustainable sunglasses market is poised for growth, driven by consumer demand and technological advancements.

Technological Innovation

Advancements in materials and production techniques will lead to even more sustainable and durable sunglasses.

Consumer Awareness

As consumers become more environmentally conscious, the demand for sustainable sunglasses is expected to rise, pushing the industry toward greater sustainability.

Collaboration and Transparency

In an age of accountability, transparency is the key to trust. Brands are teaming up with environmental organizations, revealing their supply chain processes, and contributing to a more responsible future. 

Brands are likely to collaborate more with environmental organizations and increase transparency in their supply chains to maintain consumer trust as time goes on and more people switch to a sustainable lifestyle. 

That's all the recommendations and tips we have for sourcing Sustainable Sunglasses!

As we draw the curtains on this untold story of sustainable sunglasses, one thing is clear: the sunglasses industry is experiencing a transformative journey toward sustainability. The once-hidden environmental and ethical costs are now being addressed with innovation, consciousness, and a growing sense of responsibility. The future of sustainable sunglasses is bright, and it's a testament to the power of informed consumer choices, collaborative efforts, and the enduring allure of style that cares for the planet. 

The shades we wear on our faces are more than just an accessory; they are a reflection of a changing world, one frame at a time.

Samurah Curry

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