In this new wave of eco-conscious shopping, it can be overwhelming trying to find alternatives to the little things in life. Most of us view a day of shopping as retail therapy and as a way to relax, but even the best of us sometimes forget the true value of the goods we are purchasing. To see things clearer, sometimes we have to look a little closer. Did you know that an estimated 4 Million pairs of glasses are thrown away each year? It’s true—these things that we don’t even think about in any regard other than as tools that help us see are filling up our landfills at an alarming rate. That being said, glasses for some people are a true necessity. So, what do we do in a situation where we need something that is contributing to the decline of our planet? Easy! We look for the eco-friendly solution and the eco-friendly brands that are willing to make the change happen. Here are a few eyewear brands who have enough foresight to recognize that a solution needs to be found, and who are contributing to the sustainable vision of the future.
1. MODO: Founded in 1990, MODO seeks to find the optimal balance of form and function, and have several initiatives to make sure their glasses are making a difference. The MODO Buy A-Frame, Help a Child See program works to provide the early detection and intervention necessary for children in which Nurses visit schools to screen all students, children requiring glasses then receive free prescription eyewear and free glasses are distributed to the children, complete with a final exam to ensure the child’s clear vision. Along with the Help A Child See program, MODA is now working on the One Frame-One Tree program. Their ECO line of glasses was born in 2009 and since then has donated and planted a tree for every frame sold. So far, ECO has planted 1.5 million trees—that’s enough to remove the carbon emitted from NYC for 2 days! So, if you’re looking for an eyewear brand that’s doing some good, look no further.
2. ZEAL: If you’re looking for some funky sunglasses or sports glasses, then ZEAL is the brand for you. ZEAL uses plant-based materials in all of their sunglass frames and lenses to help you see the world around you more clearly. While other lenses use a petroleum-based polymer, illume is ZEAL glasses are constructed of a plant-based material allowing for higher purity, which results in a lighter finished lens for all-day comfort. Meanwhile, their frames are biodegradable and produced from cotton and wood pulp fibers and manufactured solely with renewable resources—keeping them free of toxic substances used in post plastics. Not only are ZEAL glasses sustainably sourced and eco-friendly, their non-toxic materials are high quality for your health as well.
3. SOLO Eyewear: The motto of SOLO Eyewear is “The world needs companies that care about people and the planet.” And we couldn’t agree more! By donating 10% of profits, SOLO Eyewear has restored vision for over 13,000 people in need through the funding of eye exams, eyeglasses and cataract surgeries. Along with their dedication to social causes, SOLO has a deep respect for our planet to top it all off. Each pair of SOLOs is constructed using repurposed bamboo or recycled plastic, which reduces our carbon footprint and prevents hundreds of pounds of unnecessary material from being produced each year. In addition to their sustainable resources they use in the making of their glasses, SOLO repurposes packing materials and defective sunglasses for parts. To top it all off, SOLO works exclusively with manufacturers who have undergone and passed a comprehensive audit conducted by an American based auditing company. The audit reviews the manufacturer’s worker protection and health management, maintenance issue management, and fire and emergency management. All cases and cords for sunglasses are sourced from a group of female artisans in Guatemala—by sourcing their accessory products from these local artisans, they are able to help lift families out of poverty by paying them fair wages and exposing their products to the global market. It doesn’t get better than that!