For many people, eyewear is not an accessory by choice, but a necessity to participate in their everyday lives. They want function, but they also want fashionable options that fit their personal lifestyles. These days, that means not only finding a pair of glasses that agree with their wallets, but their carbon footprint as well. Luckily, we exist in a market that values the wants and needs of its customers, and brands are prioritizing sustainable production more than ever before.
Here are some things to keep in mind when finding sustainable eyewear.
1. Do Your Research
Fashion companies are becoming increasingly aware that their products need to meet more criteria than just looking good, and while the increase in need for sustainable options prompts these companies to make more eco-friendly efforts, it has also created a phenomenon called greenwashing.
According to the Corporate Finance Institute, greenwashing is when an organization makes false and misleading claims about the sustainability of their products and business operations in order to appeal to an eco-friendly audience. To avoid falling victim to companies who use this tactic, look out for brands that are transparent about their operations and certified by reputable establishments, such as Safer Choice, Green Seal, and Green America.
Eyewear companies that produce eco-friendly fashion should provide a clear mission that aims to increase recycling efforts and reduce their carbon footprint in the fashion industry. Look out for explicitly identified resources, and all-around, avoid ambiguity when it comes to a company’s claims regarding their sustainability. The more specific, the better.
2. Find Brands That Are Wholly Sustainable
While, yes, those glasses made mostly from recycled materials are eco-friendly, but is their production and distribution? If you buy glasses made from recycled materials through a major corporation, some of the intended efforts are lost.
Enhancing your look in a sustainable way can be easy, you just need to look for the well-rounded products. How are their materials sourced? Do they use eco-friendly or biodegradable packaging? These factors add to the overall green-ness of a product and should be considered when making purchases.
One last factor that makes a brand stand out in their sustainability status is whether they are associated with, and actively contribute to, organizations or charities that co-align with their efforts to make a healthier living environment. This is something that can weed out brands and products that are greenwashing themselves in order to appeal to wider audiences. Finding an eyewear brand that makes their products from recycled materials, uses eco-friendly packaging, and contributes to furthering their cause should be the ultimate goal.
3. There Are More Options Than You Think
Eyewear is expensive and eye care is expensive. But there are plenty of companies out there that want to help lessen both of those worries for people who want fashionable, sustainable, and affordable options. Of course, you’re going to spend a bit more money on a pair of low-waste glasses as opposed to a pair of cheaters from the Walmart spin rack, but at least you won’t be back to buy a new pair in a month when they break.
Online, there are hundreds of websites and marketplaces where you can browse your options, see which company missions align best with your personal sustainability goals, and even pick out a pair of frames that you can supply your own prescription lenses for.
You can buy not only sustainably-made frames, but sunglasses, blue light glasses, and prescription glasses that help reduce waste. Materials range anywhere from aged woods, to recycled aluminium, to ocean plastics; all of these materials play major parts in lessening the waste that exists in our environment.
Another sustainable eye care solution that is often forgotten or overlooked is to buy second hand. Once a crafted piece of wood, plastic, or metal is created, then forever it exists in one form or another. Buying vintage eyewear is recycling in its most basic form, and it’s the type of recycling that requires basically no repurposing. You aren’t melting old materials into a new pair of frames–you’re simply giving glasses a new life, and this is an affordable option to consider.
4. Consider other areas in which you can go green
If you’re looking for ethically sourced and produced eyewear, odds are you’re looking to reduce your carbon footprint in other areas of your life. Whether you need an eye serum for fine lines made from natural products, or help getting better sleep without the aid of prescription drugs, you can find a greener version of almost any product you may need.
Ideally, to save your body from unhealthy toxins found in so many products that we people use every day, you should be buying products that sit low on the EWG Scale. This scale rates products and foods based on the levels of toxins (commonly referred to as PFAS) that exist in said products. PFAS are also called ‘forever chemicals’ and are very difficult, if not impossible, to break down in water and in our bodies.
Next time you need a pair of glasses, makeup, or even a household product, consider the health and environment benefits that come from making the switch to eco-friendly products. There are endless affordable options, and it’s becoming increasingly more important that we make these switches.