Sustainability and Style: Your (Quick) Guide to Eco-friendly Eyewear

Sustainable eyewear, Hoffmann Natural Eyewear at Taank, Cambridge

The recent COP26 talks mean that all things sustainable and eco-friendly are top of mind right now. It’s certainly something that occupies our headspace here at Taank as we strive to create an ever-greener, healthier environment for our clients and team. It’s no longer enough to stock head-turning eyewear. Sustainability needs to be at the core of every business decision. It was at the heart of our recent renovation, which incorporated as many sustainable, recyclable and natural materials as possible. And it’s why we champion brands that create breathtaking frames while protecting our planet. Many have been doing it for decades—it’s part of their DNA.

If you’re in the market for new glasses or sunglasses and want to make an ethical choice, we hope our quick guide will give you confidence in making your decision.

An eye on sustainable materials

The great news is that you never need to sacrifice style for a clear conscience when finding the perfect frames. Many of the natural materials in our eco-friendly frames deliver a fabulous depth of colour, texture, and nuance. Each pair is unique, making them a work of art. It’s why we’ve long-championed beautiful, ethically sourced eyewear in a range of materials that have minimal impact on the environment, including:

  • Aluminium: The most environmentally friendly metal on the planet, aluminium can be recycled infinitely and reformed exactly. We’ve stocked Danish brand Kilsgaard’s lightweight aluminium frames for over a decade for the pared-back beauty of its designs and because they’re great for anyone wanting a lightweight but durable frame. They rank highly on the sustainability front because they can be recycled almost indefinitely.
  • Buffalo horn: Natural horn frames are timeless and durable. German brand Hoffmann uses sustainable, ethically sourced materials and handcrafted techniques to create a long-life, environmentally friendly product. Taank shares this passion for horn frames, appreciating the subtle beauty of the glasses and understanding the special properties of this exclusive material.
  • Wood: Bergamo-based Feb31st is widely acclaimed for its respect for nature. Its wood veneers are Forest Stewardship Council certified. Recently, Feb31st introduced fossil veneers from fallen trees, including kauri veneer from underground trees that died more than 45,000 years ago in New Zealand and spruce veneer from trees felled by the Vaia storm in northern Italy in 2018. Frames are finished with organic, chemical-free oil or water-based lacquer. Taank passionately supports and mirrors Feb31st’s sustainability—sharing its story with clients and customizing every frame to ensure a unique, eco-friendly product.

These materials are all very different and lend themselves to bold, well-defined shapes and minimal designs. They’re lightweight and durable, and all are hypoallergenic, so they are comfortable and provide peace of mind for anyone with a metal allergy.

Choosing sustainable eyewear

Brands with sustainable manufacturing processes

  • Silhouette: German brand, Silhouette has been a Climate Alliance company since 2020 and is committed to sustainable business practices, reducing air pollution and waste, and using reusable packaging. The company derives its electricity from an eco-friendly renewable electricity mix, guaranteed to be 100% free of CO2 or nuclear energy. This mix of natural energy sources enables Silhouette to generate its power without any emissions. Most recently, it announced that it is now carbon neutral. In addition, Silhouette insists that suppliers meet strict compliance regulations for quality, environmental protection, and workplace safety and promotes a ‘buy less, buy better’ philosophy.
  • Hoffmann: Known for its stunning horn frames and based in the idyllic Volcanic Eifel region, protecting the environment is part of life for Hoffman Natural Eyewear. Its atelier is even heated and cooled using a geothermal system!
  • Feb31st: Every Feb31st frame is handmade to order to avoid unsold stock, reduce the use of raw materials, and keep waste to an absolute minimum. This way, the process uses less energy and less packaging than traditional methods.

During our refurbishment, we made major changes to our practice from the foundations up to ensure that we’re as sustainable and energy-efficient as possible. It’s an ethos we carry over into our eyewear collection, choosing brands that respect the planet. Next, we plan to stock more eyewear made from recycled materials—watch this space.

Owner and Head Optometrist Anjana, says,

“We’ve worked with sustainable eyewear suppliers for more than a decade, styling clients with beautiful designs and cutting edge materials. There’s strictly no scrimping on style! And we’re always on the lookout for more responsibly made eyewear and progressive brands that are dramatically reducing the footprint of the whole industry.”

If you have questions about our current sustainable collections or what we’re doing as a team to make mindful, eco-friendly choices, get in touch.

Find out how Taank’s recent refurbishment is helping us to reduce our carbon footprint.