7 Ethical and Eco-friendly Sunglasses Brands To See You Through Summer

Emma Hakansson

Sunglasses are great. Too sunny to see anything? Sunglasses. Feeling tired, anti-social, but want to look fabulous? Sunglasses. Just love accessorising? Sunglasses.

In terms of their environmental and ethical impact though, sunglasses aren’t always so great. Too often where and how sunglasses are made is not clear, and often they’re made of cheap plastic that can’t be recycled.

Fortunately, there are a lot of great brands that are doing their part to make more conscious and kind sunglasses – from more sustainable material choices to ethical manufacturing, and charitable business models.

Image via Pala Eyewear

ethical and sustainable sunglasses
POMS x Sabina Socol by Nina Raasch

Poms Eyewear

These glasses by Poms Eyewear are made in a Hong Kong regularly visited by the Melbourne based designer.

They’re made of bio-acetate composed of plant cellulose instead of petroleum, so they can either biodegrade or be recycled.

Poms purposefully don’t use leather sunglasses cases for the sake of animal wellbeing.

Pala Eyewear

Pala provides grants directly to eyecare projects in Africa, which goes towards the purchasing of equipment or supporting outreach programs which allow for sustainable and long term solutions to visual impairment. Each pair of sunglasses come in an ethically made woven case made of recycled plastics.

Pala glasses are made in a SMETA audited factory and they off-set all carbon emissions from deliveries as well as elements of the sunglasses that have to be sent from different places for manufacturing. They also use recyclable materials in their packaging.


Eco Eyewear - sustainable sunglasses

MODO Eco Collection

The main ingredient of these bio-based frames is vegetable castor seed oil. For every pair of sunglasses, you buy MODO plants a tree. So far they’ve planted over 2 million!

The brand also supports the not for profit organisation Seva, which sets up nurse visits to schools where students have their eyes tested. Children with vision impairments receive free prescription eyewear and if needed, free treatment for eye diseases.

sustainable sunglasses

Proof Eyewear

Made from recycled aluminum, with sustainably sourced wood frame ‘arms,’ Proof has a program where sunglasses can be sent back at the end of their life, if they’re damaged beyond repair, or if you want a style update. Glasses are either donated to those in need or are recycled and made into new glasses again.

Proof has an entire ‘Do Good’ section on their website where you can learn more about what they do to help make the world a better place. Highlights include supporting education initiatives, with $10 from every sale, having donated over 1000 pairs of glasses to those with vision impairments, having planted 200 trees and supported 200 cataract surgeries.

Peep ethical and sustainable sunglasses

Peep Eyewear

Peep collects vintage sunglasses frames and replaces the lenses so that they work more effectively as sunglasses, or even as prescription glasses.

Working with what already exists, Peep is extending the life of sunglasses otherwise left unused. And for every purchase, Peep plants a tree.

Panda Sustainable Sunglasses

Wear Panda

Panda frames are made with bamboo, one of the fastest-growing plants in the world. Bamboo puts more oxygen back into the atmosphere and requires less water than other most other trees, and it doesn’t require pesticides to grow. Bamboo, being a wood, will also biodegrade effectively.

Every pair of Panda sunglasses ensures someone in need receives an eye exam and a pair of prescription glasses. The brand also supports longer-term solutions like the building of optometry schools and vision clinics.

Sea 2 Sea sustainable sunglasses

Sea 2 See

Handmade in Italy, these sunglasses are made of recycled marine plastic pollution! An average of one tonne of waste is taken out of the ocean every day by the brand’s sea ‘trucks.’ The recycled raw material is gold standard Cradle to Cradle Certified.

The business is also Peta approved vegan as they choose not to use leather cases.

Emma Hakansson

Emma Håkansson is the founder and director of Willow Creative Co, a content creation and ethics consultancy agency working to make fashion kinder. Emma is a globally published writer, and has created campaigns for animal rights groups both exposing violence against animals and encouraging more compassionate choices.