A Shopping Guide to Sustainable Sunglasses

A Shopping Guide to Sustainable Sunglasses

Summer is quickly approaching and hopefully there will be plenty of sunshine ahead. It's time to make sure your wardrobe is weather-ready and sunglasses are right next to sunscreen on the list of must-have summer essentials—whether you have a capsule wardrobe or not!

Over time, sunglasses lose their UV protection. Depending on how frequently they are worn, sunglasses need to be replaced every two years to ensure they're protecting your eyes. Look out for lenses that have become lighter, it's a sign they're losing their UV protection and it's time to get a new pair.

There are now plenty of sustainable sunglasses that both look good and do good. If you're looking for a new pair of shades this summer, shop for an eco-friendly alternative so you can enjoy your sunny days with a clear conscience.

What are 'sustainable sunglasses'?

Sustainable sunglasses are sunglasses that have been designed and produced by companies that value fair labour practices and use eco-friendly materials that have been ethically sourced. These companies may also support environmental initiatives or donate a portion of sales back through charitable donations.

The term 'sustainable' isn't clearly defined or protected so brands are free to use the label in whatever way they want—and often use it for greenwashing! This can make it difficult to identify what products really are eco-friendly, and which ones aren't.

Hopefully I can make that easier for you with my shopping guide to sustainable sunglasses! As with all my sustainable shopping guides, this one focuses on European brands who provide detailed information about where their products were made, what materials were used, and how their workers were treated.

A Shopping Guide to Sustainable Sunglasses

Where to Buy Sustainable Sunglasses

There's nothing wrong with having multiple pairs of sunglasses, especially if you spend a lot of time outdoors in different environments. But with 1.6 billion unworn items sitting in UK wardrobes, how many pairs do you really need?

Before buying any new shades, try thrifting first—although be careful of UV expiry dates. This option is great for finding unique, one-of-a-kind vintage sunglasses for outfit styling rather than sun protection.

If you're on the hunt for a new pair of protective sunglasses or prescription eyewear, these are the best sustainable sunglasses made by ethical brands. Hopefully you can find a pair that suit your style!


Bird sunglasses offer a stylish twist on classic frames, making them a timeless choice of eyewear. Each pair is named after species of bird and made using sustainable materials, including certified woods, bio-based acetate, renewable cork and recycled aluminium.

Bird is the first B Corp Certified eyewear brand in the UK meaning the company is legally required to prioritise its workers, suppliers, community, and the environment in all its decision making. Bird 'gives back' through its Share Your Sun partnership with SolarAid, and offers a recycling programme for old frames.

Coral Eyewear

Coral Eyewear offers a small selection of frame styles in a wide variety of punchy colours. Crafted using recycled materials reclaimed from the sea and landfills, Coral's eyewear is infinitely recyclable.

Although Coral Eyewear prioritises waste initiatives by avoiding virgin plastic in favour of recycled materials. There is very little information about its labour practices and no evidence it ensures payment of a living wage throughout its supply chain.

Eco Eyewear

Eco Eyewear has a great selection of classic frames available in a variety of colours, from neutral basics to more playful hues. Its plastic-free sunglasses are made using a Biobased material created from natural cotton and wood pulp. This material is claimed to be biodegradable in just 120 days.

Although Eco Eyewear prioritises recycled metal and sustainable materials, there is no information on its labour practices and wages, or environmental initiatives.

Hemp Eyewear

This limited range of eyewear offers classic frames with unique colour-ways and patterns. Each pair are made using hemp acetate and natural dyes, and come with a lifetime repair policy.

All of Hemp Eyewear sunglasses are made from a small workshop in Edinburgh. Unfortunately, Hemp Eyewear offers barely any information about its business practices or environmental initiatives, if any.


Kampos have a very limited range of sunglasses made with the goal to raise awareness of marine pollution and over-fishing. The unique eyewear is made from recycled fishing nets and plastic bottles, and manufactured locally to help reduce its carbon footprint.

Kampos provides some details of its labour practices in its Code of Conduct. Although its unclear whether Kampos ensures payment of a living wage. The brand is an official partner of the Coral Conservation Project, working at restoring the coral reef in the Maldives.


Each pair of frames in Monc's range offer a vintage yet contemporary style, from modern round frames to iconic 70s silhouettes. Each pair is sourced in Italy and made in small batches to reduce its carbon footprint and minimise waste.

Although Monc claim it has complete transparency and traceability throughout its supply chain, there's little evidence this is true. There is no Code of Conduct and no proof it provides a living wage.

A Shopping Guide to Sustainable Sunglasses

Pala Eyewear

Pala Eyewear offer a small yet perfectly formed selection of sunglasses in timeless styles. Each pair is handcrafted in limited runs using a mixture of plant-based materials and recycled plastic to minimise waste and reduce its carbon footprint. For every pair of sunglasses sold, Pala works with Vision Action to give back to eye-care programmes across Africa.

Pala Eyewear is a B Corp Certified eyewear brand. Not only is Pala legally required to prioritise its workers, suppliers, community, and the environment in all its decision making. The company undergoes an in-depth assessment every three years to verify its certification.

Peep Eyewear

The husband and wife team behind Peep Eyewear save restored preloved designer frames and unique vintage eyewear from going to landfill. These repaired and refurbished frames are available with or without a prescription.

Although there's no information about their business practices or environmental initiatives. Peep Eyewear offers frame repairs and refurbishing, as well as custom services, and a donate and recycle programme.


Another eyewear brand offering restored vintage frames. Retrospecced offer a selection of retro eyewear, including prescription lenses and sunglasses. You can even get your favourite frames reglaze through Retrospecced's reglazing service.

There's zero information about Retrospecced's business practices, Code of Conduct, living wages, or environmental initiatives. Saving old frames from going to landfill appears to be the company's main priority.

Stella McCartney

Stella McCartney has a range of premium sunglasses crafted from bio-acetate made using organic fibres derived from wood and cotton seeds. It offers a diverse range of styles and interesting designs, making Stella McCartney frames an investment wardrobe purchase.

Stella McCartney is a member of the Ethical Trading Initiative and traces most of its supply chain. However, it's unclear whether it ensures a living wage in its supply chain. There are also policies in place to reduce its carbon footprint and prevent deforestation.


The Wires range is quite limited but the designs are modern and unique, making it a good choice for statement shades. Each pair is handcrafted in Italy using bio-plastic made from castor beans, a single piece of wire, and 3D printed parts.

Although Wires still hasn't been officially audited, it says it follows strict EU regulations for labour standards. Wires claims to have a 'zero waste production method' and recycles all waste.

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A Shopping Guide to Sustainable Sunglasses A Shopping Guide to Sustainable Sunglasses