Lets talk about wooden sunglasses for a minute and how something as simple as making a conscious decision to wear natural wooden sunglasses rather than plastic can make a massive difference to your personal well-being as well as the natural world we all live in.
Now, I know it sounds a little far-fetched and I can hear you all thinking – How can choosing to wear wooden sunglasses have such an impact on my life? Well, if we take a look at every aspect of wooden sunglasses in comparison to their plastic counterparts, from production to disposal, you will realise that it’s not so far-fetched after all.
"It is up to us as consumers to make a conscious effort to minimise the negative impact we have as a society on our own well-being, as well as the environment around us"
Raw Materials – Wood Vs Plastic
This one is an obvious one. Where does the material used to create these products actually come from? Is it sustainable?
Plastic is a petroleum based substance derived from oil, which goes through a chemical process to give it the desired properties to turn it into a finished product, in this case, sunglasses. Oil itself has to be extracted from the ground, using machinery that burns oil based fuels, shipped across the world to the factory and processed in a way that produces greenhouse gasses. Not to mention oil itself is a finite resource and is unable to be replenished making it far from sustainable.
On the flip side we have wood. A naturally occurring, highly versatile resource that grows all over the world. This means that manufacturing can be set up closer to the raw materials location, reducing the economical and environmental cost of transporting the wood to the factory. The harvesting of the wood also requires less damaging methods to the environment and can be replenished by planting more trees to replace the ones taken.
Not only that, trees actively absorb Co2 and produce Oxygen as they grow. Its a win win!!
That’s why we choose our materials carefully. Our sunglasses are created using wood that is sourced from sustainable forests and we replace more than we take by actively planting more trees with every sale!
Manufacturing – Wood Vs Plastic
As mentioned above, oil has to be refined and processed using chemicals in order to turn it into a workable material – plastic.
The waste produced as a by-product of using chemicals to refine the oil is highly damaging to the environment and inevitably ends up doing so. Even once the plastic has been created, it then has to be manipulated into a shape resembling sunglasses, inescapably creating microplastic waste as a result, which in turn finds its way into our global waterways.
"Microplastics have been even been found in our own drinking water"
As it enters our planets oceans and rivers, not only does it harm the delicate ecosystems living within these environments, but it also inevitably works its way up the food chain back into our own bodies. An article from National Geographic states that microplastics have even been found in our own drinking water!
However, when it comes to working with wood, it requires very little pre-production manipulation to make it into a workable form and can be easily go from a growing tree to a finished product in a matter of days. The by-product and waste created from working with wood is sawdust, a naturally compostable product that breaks down and is absorbed back into the Earth with no damaging repercussions.
Wooden Waves sunglasses are manufactured in factories located in South East Asia which is where the majority of the worlds bamboo is grown, the main component of our sunglasses. They are then shipped overseas to the Lake District, UK, where they then connect with the end user making the supply chain as short and as efficient as possible.
Disposal – Wood Vs Plastic
Plastic eyewear frames are usually created from sheet plastic, with approximately 80% of that plastic material ending up as waste at the end of the sunglasses life span. An article from Plastic Oceans estimates that the human population throws away 300 Million tons of plastic waste annually with a staggering 8 Million tons entering our oceans EVERY YEAR! Even if you recycle some of this plastic, it is still plastic. Eventually it can't be recycled anymore and will end up somewhere on our planet as waste or pollution.
Wood frame sunglasses on the other hand are made of… wood… an all natural substance. If you pop out the polarised lenses from your Wooden Waves sunglasses at the end of their life and take them to a specified recycling centre or donate them to a charity, the frames themselves can be placed in a compost heap and left to decompose over time. Even the tiny metal screws and hinges will decompose and oxidise to form rust, a non toxic material that presents no biological hazards.
If we can avoid contributing to this ever growing amount of plastic waste and choose a more sustainable alternative, surely it is worth doing so? It may seem a futile effort on the surface, but if every person made similar conscious decisions, collectively the results would be monumental.
To Sum Up...
It is up to us as consumers to make a conscious effort to minimise the negative impact we have as a society on our own well-being, as well as the environment around us. By choosing to use consume less plastic and utilise sustainable alternatives instead, we can reduce the amount of harmful waste that enters the environment and inevitably our own bodies.
Using wood sourced from sustainable forests to create the sunglasses frames helps prevent further deforestation and reduces the amount of harmful plastic and pollution entering our planets ecosystems. Having a short and efficient supply chain prevents any unnecessary air pollution and supporting charities that aim to restore balance to our planets delicate ecosystems through the sale of each product, helps to support the ongoing fight for sustainability.
Will you choose to wear wooden?