5 Eco-Friendly Sunglasses You Can Feel Good About Wearing

It’s the middle of summer for many of us which means we need to protect our eyes from the blazing sunlight. Instead of selecting basic frames, we dove further to look for cool brands that make eco-friendly sunglasses out of materials like recycled plastic bottles, old skateboards, discarded marine plastic, cork, and reclaimed wood. Since these materials have minimal impact on the environment, and in most cases, help clean it up, they’re great options to choose from so you can feel good about wearing them all year long.

Roeper Classic Black + Dark Gray Sunglasses by Genusee
Genusee has taken a negative – an overabundance of plastic water bottles caused by the Flint water crisis – and turned it into a positive – creating eyewear made from the surplus. Instead of using new materials, they upcycle 15 water bottles, all collected in Flint, Michigan, to make each frame thereby closing the loop, reducing the amount of bottles being thrown out, and creating desperately needed jobs in the hard-hit city. The Roeper frame is a classic round shape with a keyhole bridge that will work on just about any face shape and size.

Recycled Wooden Skateboard Sunglasses by SKRP
Based in Ottawa, Canada, SKRP handcrafts a line of sunglasses made from 100% reclaimed skateboard decks. Each unique frame features layers of colored maple wood veneer from old skateboards that you know have seen some things in its previous life being ridden. The boards have been collected by Canadian skate shops, ski resorts, and US and Canadian distribution and manufacturing companies, and then acquired by SKRP who helps keep them from taking up space in a landfill. The sunglasses come in a classic shape, leaving the color and pattern choice up to you.

Surf 06 by Sea2see
Another place with a massive plastic issue are our oceans which are becoming more polluted by the day. Luckily brands like Sea2see are doing something about it. The Spanish company works with fishing communities in 27 ports in Spain and 10 coastal spots in Ghana who collect discarded marine plastic, like fishing nets, ropes, lines, and bottles. The waste is then turned into plastic pellets that becomes their eco-friendly handmade eyewear. The Surf design is a universal style that’s available in a handful of frame colors.

Owl with Cork by Ballo
Ballo is a South African brand that set out to hand make gender neutral sunglasses out of recycled offcuts and other sustainable materials, including cork, hemp, and wood. They work with local crafts people to create the cork frames, which are also flexible and lightweight, and they also float so if you drop them in the ocean or pool, they’re easily found. The Owl cork frames are available in a choice of four types of lenses: UV400 Brown, Grey Polarized, UV400 Grey, and Brown Polarized.

Israel Maplewood Repurposed Wood Sunglasses by SOLO Eyewear
San Diego-based SOLO Eyewear uses repurposed bamboo and recycled plastic to construct their line of handcrafted eyewear. The eco-friendly company saves hundreds of pounds of unnecessary plastic from being produced every year by utilizing these used materials, which also prevents them from ending up in a landfill. SOLO is also committed to restoring eyesight by donating 10% of their profits, which so far, has restored vision for 13,000 people in need of eye exams, eyeglasses, and surgeries. These Israel Maplewood sunglasses are made from reclaimed wood and named after one of the countries the brand has helped provide vision care for people in need.

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Caroline Williamson is Editor-in-Chief of Design Milk. She has a BFA in photography from SCAD and can usually be found searching for vintage wares, doing New York Times crossword puzzles in pen, or reworking playlists on Spotify.