Bird is a brand of sustainable eyewear, that makes prescription glasses and sunglasses. All free from animal exploitation, the frames use a biodegradable bio-acetate that is made without oil-based plasticisers. The woods are dyed with eco inks and the cork cases are complimented by cleaning cloths made from recycled plastic bottles. Always try not to drop your glasses/sunglasses into the ocean (recycled plastic is still not biodegradable).
Made ethically, profits help families in Africa, by distributing a solar light for each pair sold, so people can use a clean cheap source of light, over homemade kerosene lamps that are dangerous, a poor source of light and emit black toxic smoke.
Founded by three brothers from Devon who grew up in a creative family that loved tinkering (!), the idea came after working on a product for drummers, using sustainable materials. How they got from drumsticks to sunglasses is anyone’s guess, but the boys did good!
These frames are built to last and are made from compostable bamboo and wood. At end of life, these can be separated from the aluminium layers, and recycled. Or just send back your frames to them for recycling, and get a discount on your next pair of Birds. Even the mailer bags to send them is made from water-soluble EcoWrap.
Each pair of Birds is designed to last a lifetime. To help extend life, avoid wearing frames on top of your head, as this stretches the frames (the top of your head is wider than your temples). Also keep the hinge tight with a simple turn using a 1.5mm screwdriver. And always use the pouch for extra protection.
Most of the sunglasses have polarised lenses, which offers good comfort and protection, to keep eyes safe from reflected light. Look for the polarised lens icon on the product page. They use high quality Colombian Resin Lenses, which are both durable and optically brilliant.
Although sunglasses made from recycled plastic are a great idea for pottering around town or the garden, they are not such a good idea if you are at the beach or a sailor. Because if you accidentally lost them, they obviously don’t biodegrade in the sea, and could harm marine life. So here are some biodegradable frames (obviously the lenses are not yet biodegradable, but let’s start where we are). Ecocult has a good post on issues with ‘recycled plastic sunglasses’. Also see safe & natural sun protection.
It can be confusing buying sunglasses. In a nutshell, look for ones that carry the European Standard CE Mark, UV 400 or British Standard Mark, for a safe level of protection. Ensuring sunglasses for driving are in the 0 to 3 filter category (4 is too dark) and don’t use ones with scratches, keep glasses in their protective case. It’s important to measure your pupillary distance before you buy, to avoid eyestrain. These sunglasses are made with biodegradable materials. These will compost at landfill under the right conditions (not in your home compost bin).
Bird has become the first to be certified as environmentally-sustainable with B-Corp. All their materials are sustainable and cruelty-free, and they give back by providing solar light to people in developing countries. The sunglasses are sold in beautiful cork (no trees cut down) cases, and the cleaning cloths are made from recycled plastic bottles. Even the mailing bags are made from sugar cane.
The frames are made from bamboo and wood and built to last, and then will biodegrade, while the laminated wood aluminium frames can be separated and recycled. You can alternatively send frames back for recycling, and get a 50% discount on the next pair. The site has a face shape guide and virtual try-on service.
Uunique Unisex Sunglasses have bamboo frames and polarised thermal cures lenses, for clear vision and to protect against glare and UV radiation. They feature an eco case made from bamboo wood and an anti-reflective coating to withstand accidental impact. Each pair has stunning wood grain and is available in several colours: blue, beige, black/beige, black, red or yellow. 1% of proceeds go to eco charities.
Wooden Unisex Lenos Sunglasses are made with polarised thermal cured lenses and an anti-reflective coating, sold in a bamboo case. In beige or tan.
Bambooka makes stylish bamboo wood sunglasses. Handmade by a social enterprise, each pair sold pays for an eye test and vision correction for those in need, in 5 African countries.