Plastic gets a new life from these brands making super chic recycled plastic sunglasses!
As the summer approaches, so does the desire to go to the seaside. And that’s when you may truly see it for the first time: the plastic pollution issue.
Since it went into mass production only 50 years ago, plastic has been wreaking havoc on our environment. An estimated 299 million tons of plastic were produced in 2013, representing a 4 percent increase over 2012, and confirming and upward trend over the past years, despite increasing concerns about plastic.
Plastic continues to be used because it is versatile, lightweight, flexible, moisture resistant, strong, and relatively inexpensive. However, it’s also full of toxins, and is very slow to biodegrade. It comes in many forms you may not think of: it’s not only in bottles and straws, but also comprises the fibers found in polyester, acrylic and nylon; the lining of coffee cups, tinned food, Tetrapaks and takeaway containers, and many more commercial and consumer products.
Some companies are trying to do something with plastic waste. For example, myriad swimwear brands brand themselves as ‘sustainable’ since they’re transforming beach plastic into swimwear. But this doesn’t address the issue of microfiber pollution. Every time you swim or wash your suit, tiny microplastic particles are shed, and enter the waterways. They’re eaten by fish, which we then eat, and are too small to be filtered out of our drinking water.
A better idea for using ocean plastic is to create permanent items that don’t need much washing. Like furniture, accessories – or sunglasses.
Here, I’ve found a few recycled plastic sunglasses brands that we love. They’re making your sunnies from the very stuff we need to get out of our oceans, fast!
5 Sunglasses Brands Using Recycled Plastics
Every year, a whopping 640,000 tonnes of fishing nets are lost or discarded in the ocean. And Cornish entrepreneur Harry Dennis decided to do something about it it: he created a social-enterprise in Cornwall that removes abandoned fishing nets from beaches and marine environments, by recycling the material into sunglass and eyewear frames.
This British brand making recycled plastic sunglasses is inspirational in the way it intercepts and repurposes plastic into eyewear that is literally a wearable symbol for change.
Its name, ‘Waterhaul,’ originates from Newfoundland cod fisheries. It’s a term used to describe the act of hauling in a seine or trawl net that is absent of any catch. And retrieving empty nets from the ocean is precisely what the company aims to achieve. It also models its system around a circular economy: the brand is happy to back your old or damaged frames and recycle these into new sunglasses.
Styles are clean and classic wayfarers, and are also unisex.
Price: Starts at around $99
One of the best recycled plastic sunglasses brands for: Earthy, sporty style
We all know and love Stella McCartney for her elegant creations that are kind to animals. The British eco-designer has now broadened her ready-to-wear collections to eyewear, produced with materials of natural and recycled origins in compliance with the eco-sustainable philosophy.
Her sunglasses collection for this year features shades made from recycled bottles and biodegradable shoe soles, as well as bio-acetate. This is a combination of cellulose and natural plasticisers. These differ from the more typically used toxic diethyl ketone because they’re derived from citric acid.
Styles on offer include everything from sporty wrap-arounds and square, tinted 60’s styles to ultra-chic cat eye sunglasses.
Price: Around $350
One of the best recycled plastic sunglasses brands for: Serious fashionistas with a conscience.
The punny name of the brand envelopes its mission to repurpose marine waste, specifically plastic.
Although the brand is Italian, it also engages neighbouring countries. It does so by collecting old fishing nets in Spanish and French ports, and transforming them into sunglasses and glasses frames.
Rather shockingly, the label manages to collect an average of one ton of waste per day! This all gets transformed into ethical eyewear, of course.
Their designs are so stylish, they even appeal to celebrities! The Spanish actor and environmentalist, Javier Bardem, is a fan, for example.
Price: Starting around $110
One of the best recycled plastic sunglasses brands for: Keeping Europe’s seas cleaner; European style; eyeglass frames.
Eight-year old eco-entrepreneur Harry Robinson is excellent proof that activism can start at any age. This young boy began cleaning up plastic bottles as a hobby, and thanks to the support of his family, he is transforming them into recycled plastic sunglasses.
Harry’s father, Nick, made a business plan that he launched through a Kickstarter campaign. Not only did the Sydney-based family business raise $20,000 in six minutes, but they have also sold nearly 700 pairs of their recycled plastic sunglasses worldwide. Good Citizens further joined forces with an Aussie NGO. It gathers 45 extra plastic bottles from the ocean for every pair of Good Citizens shades that are sold.
Price: Starts at $99
One of the best recycled plastic sunglasses brands for: Supporting a family business focused on helping the planet.
Image below: @mish_mac
How cool is this Austria-based sustainable eyewear collection? It offers lightweight, distinctive optical frames and sunglasses of the highest quality, and unparalleled comfort. Neubau’s dedication to style and quality goes hand in hand with setting high environmental standards.
The brand prides itself on urban designs that use eco-friendly materials such as naturalPX. This is a kind of plastic based on organically sourced and renewable products. And get this: over half of that material is comes from caster oil plants!
Is there any denying that Neubau’s collection is innovative, timeless and fashionable?
Price: Ranging from $185 – $495
One of the best recycled plastic sunglasses brands for: Seriously cool urban style