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May 12, 2020

What exactly is bio-acetate?

What exactly is bio-acetate?

Sounds fancy, but in fact it’s pretty simple.

Since moving away from crafting frames from actual tortoise shell (hence the now commonly used name for a mottled, brown colour!) sunglasses frames have generally been made of acetate. Known for being lightweight and flexible to allow frames to bend slightly and return to their original shape instead of breaking when pressure is applied to them, this versatile material is made up of a polymer derived from wood pulp and other natural cotton fibres. And it’s been sat firmly at the number one spot for sunglasses and glasses for… well, most of our lifetime. Acetate is preferable for sunglasses over other materials as it is made from mostly renewable materials, it’s hypoallergenic, it can be created in a full spectrum of colours and can be easily adjusted by opticians if you need the fit tweaked. It’s been a front runner in the eyewear industry for decades and we’ve made many of our older frames from it, but there is one problem with this option. And it’s called plasticisers.

In order to create this acetate material, you need to add a plasticiser into the pot. Usually these contain a petroleum derivative, but as suppliers around the world look to innovate to lessen their impact on the planet we see companies such as Mazzucchelli, the people behind the material used in our brand new collection, developing solutions to go greener by replacing this chemical with an alternative.

Enter bio-acetate. This kinder to the environment material is made with plasticisers from renewable sources rather than oil-based ones. By changing these chemicals into biodegradable plasticisers, the entire material becomes plant based, can break down, and as a result is better for our planet. Plus, it reduces our reliance on non-renewable resources.

From 2020 onwards, all styles added to the Pala collection will be exclusively bio acetate (or a few recycled styles made from otherwise wasted factory offcuts!). Expect ethically made sunglasses made from eco-friendly materials ready for you to wear whatever the weather, for many seasons to come. Every single pair of our new frames comes with UVA/UVB protection as usual but now with polarised lenses ready to reduce glare, making getting outdoors even easier for use in activities or near water. Sticking with a classic, familiar designs to last.

To top it off, this material is more easily recyclable than regular acetate. Want to know how to recycle your old frames? Get in touch.

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