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Sustainable Sunglasses

5/28/2009 11:26:36 AM

Tags: green sunglasses, sustainable sunglasses, green accessories, bamboo products, eco-friendly accessories, VOCs, UV rays, formaldehyde, sustainable wood

When shopping for those perfect summer sunglasses, I usually search solely based on style. For the eco-conscious consumer, however, many stylish, environmentally friendly options exist.

Shoppers also need to remember to not neglect the purpose of sunglasses – to protect your eyes – in the pursuit of fashion. Sunglasses without at least 98 percent ultraviolet (UV) protection allow the sun’s harmful UV rays to damage the eyes.

Check out these shades that combine style, sustainability and safety.


iWood offers a collection of sunglasses and jewelry that strives to live up to its motto, “Sustain the planet, maintain your cool.”

Each pair of iWood sunglasses are made from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified sustainable wood. The sunglasses are made in the United States and constructed from the unusable excess of a veneer supplier in Indiana. The multiple layers of wood in the sunglasses are pressed together with formaldehyde-free glue, and the frames are coated in an eco-friendly sealant, which preserves the product without emitting any volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Each pair also offers 100 percent protection from UVA and UVB rays.

All of iWood’s sunglasses have wooden frames shaped in a variety of styles. My favorite pair is the iWood Style 314 sunglasses. These larger sunglasses have square-shaped frames with rounded edges. They’re made of myrtle burl, a darker wood, with dark blue tinted lenses.

iWood Sunglasses
These iWood sunglasses are made of myrtle burl, a darker wood, with dark blue tinted lenses. Photo Courtesy iWood. 

All of iWood’s sunglasses cost $370 on the iWood website. They can be found for 20 dollars cheaper at The sunglasses can also be purchased at iWood’s store in Louisville, Kentucky.


As a renewable material, bamboo is found in everything from flooring to utensils, and now, even in fashion accessories.

Handcrafted Kayu sunglasses are constructed from bamboo. Because bamboo is a grass, not a wood, it grows quickly; it can restore itself in just three-and-a-half to seven years. Bamboo doesn’t require pesticides or fertilizers to produce, making it a very environmentally friendly material to use. However, because bamboo is native to Asia, it has a high embodied energy because of the fuel it takes to ship overseas.

All of Kayu’s sunglasses cost $180. They can be found at,,,,, or at the Visionary Boutique in West Hollywood, California.

Kayu’s sunglasses come in light colors with retro larger, square-shaped frames. Kayu sunglasses also offer 100 percent UV protection. My favorite pair is a light yellow with brown-tinted lenses.

Kayu Sunglasses
Kayu's sunglasses come in light colors with retro larger, square-shaped frames. Photo Courtesy Kayu. 

Kayu works with Unite for Sight, an international nonprofit organization devoted to improving eye health, to promote the elimination of preventable blindness. For each pair of sunglasses sold, Kayu donates $50 to fund one sight-restoring surgery in the developing world.

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