Are we sustainable? Ethical? Fairly priced? We’ll spill the details on exactly how our glasses are made and leave it up to you.
Envision OceanBound Recycled Plastic
For our plastic frames, otaaki™ is partnering with Envision Plastics, one of the leading recyclers of HDPE (high-density polyethylene) plastic in the world since 2001.
Envision’s OceanBound Plastic line is made from recycled waste. Envision works with coastal communities that lack formal waste collection programs, since their trash is at higher risk of becoming ocean pollution. Envision sponsors beach cleanups to offer additional economic opportunities in these communities. Collectors are paid for the recovered plastic, and a trash bag of waste can feed a family of 4 for up to a week. Envision collects OceanBound plastic instead of waste recovered from the ocean because they stop pollution at the source, collection is simple, and they can partner with locals from the community. OceanBound plastic is also a higher quality material, since saltwater degrades plastic in a way that cannot be reversed in the recycling process.
Once collected, the HDPE waste is crushed into flakes, washed, then transformed into high-quality PCR resin. We inject the heated resin into molds to create our plastic frames.
HDPE is a unique material for eyewear, but we like it because it’s flexible, lightweight, durable, and easily recycled. It’s also easy for beach cleanup collectors to find, since it’s used in milk jugs, toiletry bottles, patio furniture, and many toys.
OceanBound Plastic can be recycled at the end of the product’s life, but some recycling centers may not be able to process small pieces, depending on their machinery. We recommend reselling or donating old frames that are still in wearable condition as a first resort.
La-Es BioCell bioacetate
The lifecycle of cellulose acetate starts and ends in nature.
We make our Cellulose Acetate frames from BioCell®, a bio acetate made by La-Es, an Italian company created in 1956 in Figliaro (Come District). La-Es has factories in Italy and in South China and is considered a pioneer in acetate extrusion technology for optical businesses.
BioCell® is an eco-friendly material made from cellulose obtained from wood produced in sustainably managed forests or cotton linters (the hairy fibers that cling to cotton seeds after harvesting) combined with acetic acid, the main constituent of vinegar and a natural plasticizer. Traditional acetate uses petroleum-based plasticizers that are non-renewable and release toxic phthalates when the acetate breaks down after disposal. BioCell® is a sustainable innovation that uses bio-based alternatives. These bio-based plasticizers are renewable and don’t leach toxins once they are thrown out.
BioCell® has undergone exhaustive tests at a specialized European Laboratory (Chelab srl analisi per industria agricoltura ambiente) and meets European standards for biodegradability according to ISO 14855 Standard. We’re pushing to have the material evaluated and approved for municipal composting in the US. BioCell® is also recyclable in a few select cities with cellulose acetate recycling capabilities.
Cellulose acetate is one of the highest qualities and best premium materials for the construction of eyeglasses for a number of different reasons. The natural origin of raw materials provides the product with a set of special features hard to find in synthetic solutions.
- Highly durable: Cellulose acetate is one of the strongest and most durable frame materials on the market. Its elasticity means it can withstand a great amount of physical stress, and it is resistant to nicks and scratches.
- Brilliance and transparency: Artisan workers have developed ways to create acetate in a wide breadth of colors and patterns. It can range from transparent to opaque and comes in a variety of finishes. Acetate allows our designers maximum creativity in the design process, and the bright colors and intricate designs don’t fade or change over time and wear.
- Comfortable to wear for an extended period of time: Cellulose acetate is strong, yet light, which makes the frames comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. It also has a smooth, glossy finish that gives it a pleasant touch that’s comfortable against your skin. People say it has an organic touch or natural feeling.
- Hypoallergenic: Cellulose acetate doesn’t cause adverse reactions for those with allergies or sensitive skin.
- Renewable: The plant based renewable material from which they are made makes them one of the best eyeglasses for those who are environmentally conscious.
You can trust that otaaki™ frames made from BioCell® will last for as long as you need them to.
Sunglasses and anti blue light lenses by Carl Zeiss
All of our sunglasses and blue light glasses come with lenses by ZEISS. ZEISS is considered one of the most famous glassmakers in the world because they’ve spent 150 years developing lenses that deliver clear vision, minimal distortion, and long-term durability.
Our sunglasses use UV400 lenses, which block 99.9% of harmful UVA and UVB rays. The lenses are Category 3, or the darkest lenses appropriate for everyday use and driving. All bioactate frames also come with polarized lenses, which minimizes glare and reduces eye strain.
Everyoung Optical Hi-Tec Reading Lenses
Everyoung Optical Hi-Tec is a quality lens supplier with decades of expertise in eyeglass lenses. Their lenses come in five diopters ranging from +1.0 to +3.0, and are thin, lightweight, and durable. Everyoung also applies a blue light coating to their lenses, so if you do most of your reading on a computer, phone, or tablet, our readers have partial blue light protection to reduce strain and eye fatigue.
Our hinges come from OBE, a German specialist in hinges known for strong and durable hinges, even in the small sizes needed for our glasses. We secure our hinges with their special safety screws. These screws and hinges keep the frame’s temples in position (they’re not floppy and won’t fold in on their own) and have anti-loosening features to ensure that doesn’t change over time.
Packaging and Accessories
Our glasses come with a carrying pouch made of Vintex, a leather-like fabric that’s made out of paper. The pouch is durable and washable, and the materials are sourced from Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) certified tree plantations that meet their standards for sustainable growth and harvesting. We also include a microfiber cloth made from recycled PET water bottles.
Our frames are made at our own factory, Zhuhai KangHong. Owning our factory ensures that we can provide more value to our customers by eliminating intermediaries. But it also means we have complete visibility to the production process and full control over our product standards, meaning you’ll get a well-made pair of frames every time you buy.
We have full control over the labor standards and can ensure that workers have safe conditions and fair pay. Our factory is audited by SEDEX to ensure operations are legal, ethical, and socially responsible. We also hold International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC), an independent supply chain certification that ensures that our recycled content claims can be traced and verified.
Our glasses are made in China, and we’re proud of that. We have our factory is in Zhuhai, China for the same reason we design in Paris and run business operations from Seattle. We follow the talent and innovation. Zhuhai has an incredible reputation for high tech electronic and biotech manufacturing, and we pull from that same talent pool for our engineers and machinists.