Especially during summertime, sunglasses are essential! They are not only important to protect your eyes, but they also give an extra oomph to your style factor.
Sunglasses are highly versatile accessories available in a multitude of colors, shapes, and styles. They are manufactured from different materials like plastic, metal, titanium and wood. So what makes wood sunglasses the one material that we wanted to put our emphasis on? Natural resources.
The one major benefit of (go) wood sunglasses: natural resources
The problems around plastic in the world have become apparent in the last decade. Bans on single-use plastics are happening in cities around the globe, and rightfully so. Who hasn’t seen the video that has gone viral a few years back where a turtle has a straw up its nose and is getting it removed. The pain it causes the animal, and the reports of (tiny) particles of plastics ending up in the tummies of fish and other animals in the ocean is nothing short of worrisome.
The problem is of course that mankind is not disposing of these materials correctly and they end up in the environment, one way or another. And if there is one thing that has proven a real struggle, it is changing the behaviour of mankind. The awareness might be there, but the (bad) habits remain in tact.
Tackle the problem at the source
So what is better than trying to change the behaviour of mankind? Not providing materials that can harm the environment in the first place! Products produced from materials that derive from nature are decomposable. Plus, when made from natural resources, it can regrow itself and provides new raw material once the resource has fully regrown. This is also true for wood, and hence the concept of wood sunglasses is born.
By far the best wood material to use is bamboo, as bamboo is a blazing fast growing hard wood. It lends itself perfectly for the production of things like sunglasses, boxes, or even toothbrushes and other products. Its blazing fast regrowth rate allows for the plant to regrow itself to full maturity in sometimes only 90 days, keeping a steady supply of raw material available for the production of, in our case, sunglasses.
More benefits of using natural resources like wood
But the benefits of using wood as a natural resource for sunglasses don’t end there; let’s have a look at other benefits:
Wood doesn’t cause skin allergy
If your skin is sensitive to petroleum-based plastics, metal or other artificial materials, then wooden frames are a great alternative. Since wood is a natural product, it didn’t need any chemicals to become the material that it is, hence when it comes in contact with your skin, it will not cause a reaction. Keep in mind, wood sunglasses have a varnish layer to protect them from humidity and rain. We try to keep the wood as raw looking as possible and use protection that is water based.
Lighter than plastic or metal alternatives
Contrary to believe, wood sunglasses are not heavier than their traditional counterparts, but lighter! Their lightweight frame provides an extra layer of comfort allowing you to wear them the entire day while barely noticing them.
They do not stick to the skin
Sunglasses that use plastic temples can become sticky on very hot days. Sweat gets trapped between the temples and your skin, which causes irritation, rashes and overall discomfort wearing your sunglasses. Wood naturally resolves this problem. It has pores and allows for some sweat the move freely. Wood sunglasses use varnish against sweat and humidity like rain or sea/pool water. As a result, you don’t have to worry about sweat damaging your sunglasses. But, there is a limit to what the temples can handle in terms of sweat. But regardless of how much you sweat, wood sunglasses will always feel better on a sweaty day than plastic alternatives.
They simply look better
There is something about wood sunglasses. What we hear our customers say most frequently, is how their friends/family asked them where they got their pair of wood sunglasses. We always joke about this, saying the choice is yours: you may not want to disclose your best kept secrets! But in reality, the picture is clear. Not only do wood sunglasses have benefits for the environment and are considered hypoallergenic, they are also a fashion statement. And a very positive one at that.
Renewable resources: a conscious choice
When you choose sunglasses made from natural resources you are reducing your footprint and making a conscious choice. By switching to products made from environmentally friendlier options like wood, you are contributing to a greener environment. Doing nothing will do just that: nothing. Therefore, our opinion on the matter is that every step counts. When you shop for wooden sunglasses, you are actively trying to create a positive impact, no matter how little.
Wood is biodegradable and recyclable; hence, when you are about to retire the sunglasses, simply put the right parts in the right bin! Or when you accidently loose them, you can worry less about its possibility to decompose.
But you still use plastics?
Yes, that is right and we are conscious about it too, just like you are! Sometimes there is simply no other way, but to use some plastics. In other cases improvements can still be made.
Wood is a more expensive material to harvest and then transform into sunglasses than plastic. That is why our full wood sunglasses are more expensive too. With the inception of GOWOOD we created two lines, full wood sunglasses, and those that have a plastic front frame and wood temples. We simply gave you the choice to tell us what you would choose and as it turns out, if a product is more affordable to buy by having a lower entry barrier, you will choose that product. This is of course understandable.
Now we have reached a point in the lifespan of GOWOOD where most of our lines are based on this concept; a plastic front frame and wooden temples. So to increase the eco-friendly aspect of our products, we have decided to swap out the traditional plastics for acetate plastic. Acetate you say?
The difference between acetate and petroleum-based plastics
Acetate, popularly known as cellulose acetate, is derived from raw plant material. It is a nylon-based material that is, like wood, hypoallergenic. Normal plastic is sourced from petroleum-based nylon pellets. It requires more chemicals to transform it into plastic than the acetate alternative. Because in the end acetate is made from plant material it is considered to be able to decompose, although it takes long. It is however still a more conscious choice than petroleum-based plastics.
What’s further very interesting about acetate, is that it is softer than a hard petroleum-based plastic like polycarbonate. We like to compare it to porcelain: it is so hard it can break easily. We have been selling sunglasses with polycarbonate front frames so long now, that we know first hand that this material is susceptible to breakage. This is no longer the case with acetate. The softness of the material rather absorbs an impact. You may end up with a small dent in the frame, but it will not render the sunglasses useless increasing the lifespan of the product.
So in conclusion: what’s better? Well, acetate of course. Not only for the environment, but also for your skin. Presently, our Los Angeles line is fully available with acetate front frames. We are currently transforming our other lines and expect to have them all available in summer 2022.
Change comes slow, but many small steps make one big one. Plastic is a versatile material as it can be used for many different purposes. It is almost impossible to think of a world without it. But minimizing where possible is definitely not a goal out of reach. Choosing for GOWOOD for your sunglasses, your watch or phone case and charger is a small step. However, don’t underestimate the power of small steps. Together, if 1000’s of people take this small step, the impact becomes noticeable and real. And of course you are free to choose other products too made from natural resources.