Why Be Sustainable?
It's 2022, the world has been facing a global climate crisis for the last 20+ years, yet now plastic is filling the oceans at an increasingly alarming rate. The chances are if you eat fish you are eating plastic and if that doesn't alarm you then you might want to check your pulse. I've been a surfer since I was born, always being on, in or around the ocean. It saddens me to see the amount of plastic on our beaches, it's truly frightening if you stop to look at it and think about the consequences not just for us but for every living thing on the planet.
I once interviewed Bill Tai who said there was no point in anyone starting a non sustainable business in this day and age, we should all be trying to do our bit for the planet and frankly I couldn't agree more.
From the very start of our journey, we wanted to make FacePlant sustainable no matter how challenging the journey would be to embark on. It's easy to get buy off the shelf plastic polarised sunglasses and stick your logo on the side but if you stop to think about the impact these products have though it's alarming, it's more cheap plastic rubbish that will eventually end up in landfill or the ocean.
Our founding principles
From day one we wanted our sunglasses to be:
- Unbreakable and hard wearing - to last a lifetime
- Sustainable in every way possible - leaving little to no trace if at all possible
- Have a positive effect on the environment - be good for the planet
- Ensure all our workers at every stage of the process are treated with dignity and respect and work for fair pay and enjoy a high living standard.
We launched this company midway through 2019. Yet we didn't get product until September 2021. A large part of that time was spent searching for a way to make eyewear that fitted with out ethos and standards. We went down countless rabbit holes with suppliers before finding out they came up short.
We could have had sunglasses within weeks of starting the business, but they wouldn't have been our sunglasses and they wouldn't have been sustainable. So we did the hard miles and we took the long road and ended up with the incredible product we have today.
Why use recycled plastic? Why not use wood or an eco material? Well we wanted to make the world a better place, and using a material that the planet is literally drowning in means it gets up-cycled into something awesome, our sunglasses. If we used wood or some of the other plant based plastics, while better for the planet than "virgin" plastic, snigger snigger, we wouldn't actually be doing anything to reduce the plastic content of the ocean.
It also turns out that recycled plastic bottles make for an exceedingly durable material. The downside is it is expensive, more expensive than just using regular virgin plastic or even just using any virgin eco material like wood. However for every pair of sunglasses we make we take five bottles out of the system and keep them out of the ocean.
The other amazing thing about this material is that when it comes to the end of its life it is fully recyclable. So if you do manage to break them or after 50 years you've had enough of them, they can be made into something else. We have a goal to actually have a closed loop system where we turn your old sunglasses into new ones, but we aren't quite there yet.
Biodegradable lenses you say, what does that mean? Lenses are the weak point of any pair of glasses, they are easy to scratch and often when scratched the glasses become unwearable. Our HD Bio Lenses and Ultra HD Polarised Lenses are made from biodegradable materials.
They are incredibly tough and strong and will last longer than you under normal conditions. However if you plant them in soil they will start to biodegrade after eleven days and within sixty months there will be nothing left but water, plant mass and carbon. No nasty chemicals are left in the ground.
This means if you scratch your lenses you can confidently pop them out and plant them in the ground and put new lenses in. Extending the life of your sunglasses indefinitely, we designed the lenses to be replaceable for this purpose and have lenses you can buy on the site to keep your sunglasses fresh.
A Lifetime Guarantee? Whats the point of making sustainable sunglasses if they break easily? We started this business as we had drawers full of broken scratched sunglasses that had become plastic waste. So from the start they had to be indestructible. A bold claim, but we have run them over with a 2 ton Land Rover at 30mph several times and they survived. So under normal day to day use, indestructible yes.
The material itself is exceedingly flexible, and our FLX Hinge 2.0 goes a step further and allows the frames to bend in ways that were not possible previously. We also designed a special shape into the frames to help them withstand the classic crushing issue associated with sitting on them or having them stuffed in a bag.
Of course we don't want you to damage your sunglasses, so we'd rather you looked after them as best you can, as that's the responsible and sustainable thing to do. However if you do have an incident that does manage to break them, we'll replace them for you. Thats is how much we believe in our product.
Be Good For The Planet
On top of all of this we have partnered with a couple of charities to further enhance our footprint on the planet. We have partnered with B1G1 – Business For Good. We support three of the Sustainable Development Goals – Life Below Water. Life on Land and Climate Action.
GreenSparkPlus as we are committed to reducing plastic in the oceans we have also partnered with Greenspark who on our behalf remove an extra 20 plastic bottles for every pair we sell. This means when you buy a pair of sunglasses from us 25 plastic bottles get removed from the ocean. Imagine the difference we can make moving forwards with this initiative.
In 2023 we are aiming to become B-Corp Accredited, a designation that a business is meeting high standards of verified performance, accountability, and transparency. A key part of B-Corp Accreditation is how we treat our workers, and we are confident that with our partners and suppliers we have done our due diligence to ensure everyone is paid a good wage and has a high standard of living, we wouldn't have it any other way.
It's not the easiest, or the cheapest, or perhaps even the best way to run a business, but it is the way we want to run our business. Our sunglasses might cost a little more than some of the cheaper options you will see advertised, but buying sunglasses from us not only gets you an incredible product it also ensures that you have a positive impact on the environment and the people we work with along the way.
Our sunglasses make everything better, including the planet!