Sustainable Eyewear: Focusing on a Greener Vision

Sustainable Eyewear: Introduction

Welcome to this week’s Weekly Tip, where we delve into the world of Sustainable Eyewear. Did you know that over 4 billion people wear glasses every day? In this article, we explore how each of us, through our everyday choices, can contribute to a greener vision for the future.

By understanding the importance of Sustainable Eyewear, we can collectively reduce our environmental footprint and inspire others to do the same. Small steps, like choosing eco-friendly frame materials or supporting ethical eyewear brands, add up to significant change.

Join us in this journey towards a greener vision. Read on to learn how your individual actions can make a real difference. Together, we can pave the way for a more sustainable and stylish eyewear future.

Sustainable Eyewear: History

Eyewear, a staple in today’s fashion, has a rich history. Its roots trace back to ancient civilizations where rudimentary forms of magnification were used. Egyptian hieroglyphs depict early attempts at vision enhancement. Similarly, the Roman Emperor Nero is said to have watched gladiatorial games through an emerald, effectively a crude lens.

Fast forward to the 13th century, when vision aids began to take recognisable form. Italian inventors crafted spectacles, their frames pinching the bridge of the nose. This design, though basic, was revolutionary, enhancing reading and craftsmanship.

The 18th century ushered in bifocals, courtesy of Benjamin Franklin. This innovation combined both near and far vision correction, a boon for those with near-sighted issues. Jumping ahead, the 20th century introduced contact lenses, first made from glass, and then evolving into the comfortable, lightweight options we have today.

Plastic lenses, a game-changer, emerged during World War II. Lighter and shatter-resistant, they replaced traditional glass. The 1950s saw the advent of transition lenses, adapting to varying light conditions. 

Sustainable Eyewear Benjamin Franklin wrote the American Constitution and invented bifocals
Benjamin Franklin wrote the American Constitution and invented bifocals

And now, in the 21st century, technology continues to push boundaries with progressive lenses and anti-reflective coatings. 

Want to know how your eyewear choices impact the environment? Keep reading!

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Non-Sustainable Eyewear: Environmental Impact

Non-sustainable eyewear carries a substantial environmental burden. The manufacturing process is often reliant on petroleum-based plastics. This not only intensifies our dependence on fossil fuels but also leads to significant emissions and plastic pollution.

Beyond production, the environmental impact of non-sustainable eyewear continues with end-of-life waste. When discarded, eyewear often ends up in landfills, where it can take centuries to decompose. This adds to the growing burden of non-biodegradable waste in our ecosystems.

Moreover, the distribution of non-sustainable eyewear involves extensive transportation, contributing to air pollution. Many eyewear products are manufactured abroad, requiring long journeys to reach their destinations. This process not only emits greenhouse gases but also increases the overall carbon footprint of the product.

A study conducted by Ace and Tate in 2020 shed light on the comprehensive footprint of an average spectacle frame. 

Sustainable Eyewear Non-sustainable eyewear contributes to the fossil fuel and plastic waste issue
Non-sustainable eyewear contributes to the fossil fuel and plastic waste issue

Incredibly, this stands at approximately 4.30 kilograms of CO2 equivalent. To put this in perspective, it’s equivalent to the footprint of 172 cups of coffee or almost six t-shirts.

Considering all these factors, it’s evident that making more sustainable eyewear choices is not just a personal preference, but a critical step towards reducing our collective environmental impact. Read on to discover how you can make a positive difference by opting for eco-conscious eyewear solutions.

Sustainable Eyewear: What To Look For

When looking for sustainable eyewear, prioritise frames made from eco-friendly materials like recycled plastic or bamboo. These choices have a lower environmental impact compared to traditional plastics. Look for brands that prioritise responsible production processes, such as using water-based adhesives and dyes, and implementing energy-efficient manufacturing.

Support companies with transparent supply chains and a commitment to ethical labour practices. Brands producing locally or holding certifications like B Corp are more likely to have a positive social impact.

Consider the durability of frames. High-quality, well-crafted eyewear is less likely to become waste, making it a more sustainable choice. Additionally, explore options with replaceable parts to extend the lifespan of your eyewear.

Lens coatings are also important. Opt for anti-reflective and scratch-resistant coatings to enhance longevity. Look for brands that offer a take-back program or recycling options for old eyewear.

Sustainable Eyewear Look for frames made from sustainable materials like wood or recycled plastic
Look for frames made from sustainable materials like wood or recycled plastic

To find out more about sustainable eyewear and discover our top three favourite brands, keep reading. Each of these brands exemplifies a commitment to eco-conscious practices, making them excellent choices for those looking to make more sustainable eyewear decisions.

Sustainable Eyewear: Three of our Favourite Brands


Waterhaul is a pioneering sustainable eyewear brand, crafting sunglasses from 100% recycled fishing nets. Each pair directly contributes to cleaning up oceans. Their Fitzroy and model named after Cornish coastal landmarks, is not only eco-friendly but stylish too. Plus, when you sign up for their mailing list, you’ll enjoy an exclusive 10% discount on your purchase. Dive into fashion with a purpose and make a difference with Waterhaul.

Sustainable Eyewear Waterhaul's 'Fitzroy' sustainable eyewear
Waterhaul's 'Fitzroy' sustainable eyewear

Peep Eyewear

Peep Eyewear stands out as a leading sustainable prescription glasses brand in the UK. They specialise in recycled, eco-friendly frames, embodying both style and environmental consciousness. Peep Eyewear’s commitment to sustainability is evident in their range of recycled, eco-friendly frames, setting them apart in the eyewear industry. Moreover, signing up for their mailing list offers an exclusive 10% discount, making their sustainable eyewear even more accessible for conscientious consumers.

Sustainable Eyewear Peep's genuine vintage aviators in brown acetate
Peep's genuine vintage aviators in brown acetate

Bird Eyewear

Bird Eyewear stands as an award-winning sustainable eyewear brand, dedicated to ethical craftsmanship and eco-friendly materials. Their sunglasses not only exude style but are also crafted with sustainability in mind. From recycled plastics to eco-acetate, Bird Eyewear embodies a commitment to eco-friendly materials. For conscientious shoppers, a special offer awaits: use code GRAHAM15 at checkout to enjoy an exclusive 15% discount on your purchase, making their sustainable eyewear even more affordable.

Sustainable Eyewear Bird Eyewear's Athene Snowy eco frames
Bird Eyewear's Athene Snowy eco frames

Sustainable Eyewear: That’s A Wrap

Embracing sustainable eyewear isn’t just a fashion statement; it’s a choice for a better world. By supporting brands like Waterhaul, Bird and Peep Eyewear, you’re not only adorning yourself with stylish frames but also contributing to a more eco-conscious industry. Understanding the environmental impact of non-sustainable eyewear is the first step towards a greener future. Together, let’s spread this knowledge far and wide. Share it with friends, family, and colleagues. Encourage them to make informed choices too. Every small action adds up to a significant change. Together, we can create a more sustainable and beautiful world.



Play It Green receives no financial incentive to promote our favourite sustainable brands. We do it because we like them and it’s the right thing to do!

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