Last Updated on July 4, 2023
Sunglasses are the must-have accessories for every season, especially when you’re out and about while traveling. They can make you look stylish while protecting your eyes from harmful sun damage. They’re even better to wear when you know that you’ve got a pair made with great quality and eco-friendly materials.
Nowadays, more and more brands are leaning towards creating sustainable products as a response to consumer demand—and the eyewear industry is no exception. Today’s sunglasses are healthier for the planet and let buyers do their part in caring for the environment.
Getting a pair for your next trip is just one thing you can do to vacation sustainably. If you’re in the market for eco-friendly sunglasses when you travel, here are five recommendations to consider.
Ray-Ban Wayfarer Bio-Acetate
Ray-Ban is already renowned for its classic frame styles. The Wayfarers have been a fashion staple for decades, and they’re especially convenient for ladies who want to look fashionable without sacrificing functionality. You can add a handful of extra features to these women’s sunglasses, such as different colored tints and a polarized coating that reduces light glare in bright environments like the beach.
Now, they also come with frames fashioned out of bio-based materials, including wood pulp and sugar cane, to significantly reduce their environmental impact and improve their durability. That makes the Wayfarer Bio-Acetates a great option that’s stylish, long-lasting, comfortable to wear, and effective at providing sun protection and visual clarity—everything you want in a pair of travel sunnies.
Woodzee is a California-based brand that takes inspiration from the redwood forests of the state. Even their models are named after counties and famous places in California, such as Francisco, Playa Del Rey, and Huntington.
The Fairfax stands out due to its bold silhouette. With lenses made from 48% recycled nylon and frames upcycled from skateboards, it exemplifies Woodzee’s commitment to sustainability while still providing complete UV protection.
All of their frames come in magnetic cardboard packaging that folds completely flat when not in use, which can keep your sunglasses safe while saving you luggage space when packing for a trip. The brand’s recycling program even lets you send in old Woodzee sunglasses for 50% off on your next purchase, so you can easily nab a new pair if yours get busted on vacation.
In 2020, GlassesUSA launched its sustainability initiative with the release of its SeaClean line. The collection is made from upcycled plastic bottles, with one pair of glasses taking five plastic bottles to make.
The frames resemble Ray-Ban’s trendy Wayfarer silhouette, are topped off with metallic accents, and are still durable while maintaining flexibility.
Although sustainable options tend to be more expensive, GlassesUSA proudly offers SeaClean sunglasses at an accessible price point—and you may find the price tag worth it.
Every part of the SeaClean sunnies is 100% recyclable, and GlassesUSA donates a portion of each sale to The Ocean Cleanup Program. This functional choice means you can enjoy quality eyewear, allot the money you save here to other travel expenses, and contribute to a program that upholds the cleanliness of popular seaside destinations.
Proof Eyewear Ontario Wood
Proof Eyewear rose to fame after appearing on the hit reality show Shark Tank—and turned down the deals offered for their business. Years later, this handcrafted wood shades startup took off on its own.
The Ontario Wood model is a good example of their handiwork. Made with sustainably-sourced wood and polished with a plant-based sealant that makes it water- and sweat-resistant, no two pairs of Proof sunglasses are exactly alike due to the unique woodgrain that comes from each tree they use.
Aside from being perfect for beach trips, they’re also very lightweight and easy to carry around as you travel.
Pala is a proud B Corp dedicated to making eye care more accessible and sustainable. Their sunglasses options are handcrafted in Italy, while artisans in Ghana weave the cases that they come in.
The frames on their Baobab model are a lovely, soft citrine pink that will pair with many vacation outfits. When making eyewear, they utilize Italian bio-acetate material, which is entirely plant-based and biodegradable.
A part of their profits goes to funding eye care efforts in Africa. Pala believes in transparency, and by going for the Baobab, you’ll be supporting their initiatives. As a bonus, they’re scratch-resistant, meaning they’ll be safe through the regular wear and tear associated with traveling.