We often get asked if Wooden Sunglasses are actually eco-friendly. If it's just marketing; if Wooden Sunglasses would actually make a difference in plastic pollution.
Usually customers think about wood sunglasses as a product they will use and discard, and the plastic pollution the end product will make. They think a little plastic in a frame won't really make a difference in the whole scheme of things.
However one has to think about the full lifecycle of wood sunglasses versus plastic sunglasses; from how and where the material was sourced, to logistics to assembly line, to the chemicals used, and the manufacture production.
Plastic Sunglasses' Raw Materials
Mass produced plastic sunglasses takes an immense amount of power and chemicals to produce. The Plastic material itself is manufactured from crude oil; A non-sustainable substance. It is then processed and combined with numerous chemicals to form large blocks which are then sent to the sunglasses assembly line. This causes industrial waste seldom seen by the consumer. This is even before the plastic reaches the sunglasses factory!
Wooden Sunglasses Raw Materials
Wooden Sunglasses and Bamboo Sunglasses are literally grown on trees. FreshforPandas Wood Sunglasses are made from sustainable and ethical sources of Zebrano, Bamboo, Maple, Ebony or Teak.
For Layered Wooden Sunglasses, the wood is thinly sliced and bonded with non-toxic glue for strength and a thinner frame.
For Solid Bamboo Sunglasses and Wood Sunglasses, the frames are cut from a single piece of wood.
Trees and Bamboo contribute oxygen to the environment. They actually reduce the damage from climate change by drawing in carbon dioxide and pushing out oxygen. Therefore, the preservation and process of planting trees (even for harvesting purposes) is always a good thing.
During the process of harvesting and producing the raw materials, the byproduct is literally sawdust
Assembly of Wooden Sunglasses
For mass-produced plastic sunglasses and wood sunglasses, the assembly is fairly similar. Raw materials arrive to the factory in strips, and the frames are cut from pre-defined templates based on the desired design.
The key difference is the byproduct. strip of plastic, formed from crude oil and numerous other non-organic chemicals, will product micro plastic particles which can enter the water supply or end up in a landfill. No matter what you do with it, it will end up damaging the environment in the end.
Wooden Sunglasses are made with similar templates, and the wood comes in strips just like plastic. The difference is the byproduct being sawdust rather microplastic .
Wooden Sunglasses Supply Chain
FreshforPandas Wooden Sunglasses are made in dedicated assembly lines, in South East Asia, close to the bamboo plantations where most of our range originates from. Once assembly is complete, the sunglasses are tested for CE/FDA certification, packed and boxed and shipped directly to our warehouse in Manchester, UK.
Being a straight-to-consumer operation, the supply chain of our wooden sunglasses can be traced back to the tree and bamboo plantations to our customers door step.
This contrasts greatly to mass-produced sunglasses - where often several factories are involved spanning 2 or three countries (usually Eastern Europe, Italy and China), where materials are sourced from multiple locations globally.
So when we are questioned about the eco-friendliness of our sunglasses, we admit we are not perfect. We still use plastic bags to protect sunglasses during storage, however this is insignificant compared to the manufacture and supply chain of mass produced eyewear.