Somewhere between 60 and 75% of the population of the UK wears glasses. With similar figures in the USA and other countries, they’re a huge part of our lifestyle. Despite this you don’t typically see much by way of ethically sourced or produced eyewear on the shelves. It’s difficult to find out information about the raw materials or the factories where they’re made, or about the companies who distribute them.
Of course, it’s important to make as ethical a choice as we can when buying goods, so we’ve scoured the internet to find out as much as possible on the subject. It turns out that some glasses frames are made from animal horns, so if you’re vegan it’s worth finding that out and avoiding those.
Most glasses are made using man made materials such as plastics. It is possible to buy glasses made out of wood, and in some cases, bamboo – but you’re always going to be left with the dilemma of not knowing where the glass has come from.
It’s possible to recycle old or broken glasses, too – via Vision Aid for example; who use the money to help those with sight difficulties in less affluent countries. You can donate your glasses to Lions Clubs who will either recycle them or repurpose them by giving them to people who cannot afford them.
The Ethical Options
Thankfully, though there isn’t much going by way of ethical glasses, there are a couple of options available to the ethical consumer when buying new specs:
– whilst we couldn’t find any concrete information about the sustainability of their glasses, they do operate a “one for one” policy similar to TOMS shoes – when you buy a pair of glasses they’ll give one away. At least this way, your ability to afford eye care has a positive impact on someone else’s livelihood.
– based in Denmark, their glasses are made fairly (by virtue of being an EU member), and they use sustainable materials such as bamboo. That said, their web site isn’t totally transparent when it comes to the supply chain of their glasses – so you might want to ask them for a bit more information first. They’re also low cost due to a consumer-friendly business model, which is always a plus!
Hi there! Welcome to the Ethical Shopper blog. And no – we’re not just here to write about ethical fashion. We’ll be writing about all kinds of different products, techniques, stories, brands and accreditations all relating to ethical consumerism. So you’ll be hearing from us on subjects ranging from the latest organic cotton Jeans through to how green electricity is generated, and what it means for something to be “Fairtrade”.
Stay tuned for more…