Just in time for Earth Week, SPY Optic has partnered with Surfrider Foundation to release what it's calling the "greenest" sunglass frame ever made. Rather than the typical non-recyclable plastics used in the majority of sunglass frames, the—offical name here—"SPY + Surfrider Foundation Helm" is made from 100% biodegradable Plantate™, an all-natural plant polysaccharide material.
While it initially worried us that these frames might start breaking down on our faces (you know…while we're surfing), we did some research and discovered that polysaccharides can be made to be insoluble in water. Phew.
The company is claiming a breakthrough in environmentally mindful eyewear with the new Helm, which retails for $110—$5 of which will be given to Surfrider to help continue its ongoing mission of protecting oceans, waves and beaches. The sunglasses' protective baggie is made of organic cotton, and the cleaning cloth is soy. The re-cycled packaging, of course, is printed with soy ink.
Even if we're not clear on the science of Plantate™—what exactly it is, and when and how it breaks down—we're glad to see another gear company take steps (even if they're baby steps) towards greening its manufacturing process in order to protect the world we recreate in. And we're reasonably sure that, in the far-off future, these new, plant-based frames will all be melted into the Earth, even if mountains of foam surfboard blanks continue to litter our oceans and clog up our landfills.
SPY + Surfrider Foundation Helm