What are sustainable frames?

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When choosing new glasses frames, do you think about how sustainable they are?

How choosing sustainable frames can make a difference

When choosing new glasses frames, do you think about how sustainable they are? Everyone is thinking more about protecting the planet right now, and making eco-conscious decisions about what you buy is one of the best ways to help. Brands and companies are starting to be a lot more environmentally aware, and it’s easier than ever to find sustainable glasses frames that are stylish and fashionable.

What makes frames sustainable?

Sustainable is a buzzword at the moment but it’s a bit vague. When applied to fashion and accessories, it means items that have been produced in a way that is ecologically conscious. This includes not just the materials they are made from, but the way they are made, too. Energy emissions from both transporting materials and creating the product should also be taken into account, as well as things like chemical usage. 

Materials used in sustainable glasses frames

Gone are the days when you had a choice of just metal or plastic frames. Innovative designers and brands are creating glasses frames from all sorts of sustainable materials now. Upcycled plastic waste can be processed and made into raw material that’s perfect for making frames.  This could come from plastics found in the ocean, water bottles, bottle caps, or any number of waste items.

Natural materials are being used a lot more in the production of sustainable frames now. Some companies are creating gorgeous wooden frames (sustainable wood of course) that make the most of the grain pattern of the wood. 

Acetate is a material that’s being used a lot in sustainable optical glasses. Made from cellulose, a material found in cotton, wood, hemp, and the like, this bioplastic takes dyes well and designers love the range of colours they can use. From on-trend clear frames to a huge variety of colours and patterns, you’ll find acetate being used by many brands. 

Metal frames can be sustainable too, with companies using recycled steel and aluminium to create stunning frames. If you’re considering titanium frames though, beware. While strong and attractive, the production of this metal can produce toxic substances. 

Recycled frames

The most sustainable way to get a new pair of glasses is to reuse old frames. If your prescription has changed, you can usually get new lenses put into your old frames. This is one good reason to choose high-quality frames. You may pay a bit more to start with but you’ll be able to use them for years to come. Even if frames are damaged, they can often be restored. If you prefer new-to-you frames for a change, there are companies that source and sell vintage frames. If you must have new glasses, make sure you dispose of your old ones responsibly. Many charities and opticians have donation boxes for old glasses. 

Making an informed choice

How to choose what type of new frames to buy? You have to consider whether you like the designs, if they fit your budget, and if you’re happy with the company’s sustainability credentials. Do some research, try some on, and find a pair you think will last for years. 

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