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Eco-Friendly Sunglasses Make Waves

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By Hannah Malan
1/30/2013

When the package arrived at the SCGH office, I was stoked: I was about to get my hands on the newly released Taylor Jensen – World Champion Eco-Friendly Sunglasses. A new line from Kurtis USA, the surfer shades are designed with handcrafted bamboo frames and polarized mutating lenses (they auto adjust based on UV exposure) made from a natural tree pulp base. Ripping open the package and unwrapping the biodegradable bubble wrap, I found more than a pair of cool sunglasses—it was an experience, a statement, and a chance to be part of a movement.

The company’s mantra says it all, “No Fried Eyes and No Fried Earth.” Not only is Kurtis a savior for surfers whose eyes suffer from overexposure to the sun, but the company is also a champion for the environment. In addition to the innovative sunglasses, sweet bamboo sunglasses case, and artsy micro fiber cleaning cloth, the package includes an eco tips guide (printed on recycled paper). The guide explains the environmental benefits of the materials used and reminds the new owner that for every pair purchased, Kurtis funds the planting of 10 trees in endangered forests of Nicaragua with their partner, Trees for the Future.

Throughout the surf community and beyond, Kurtis is leading by example and spreading the green message loud and proud. “One of the coolest things about Kurtis Bamboo Sunglasses is that conversations are started by wearing them,” says Kurtis Shipcott, Founder and CEO. “Many people have strong views about the environment, but are unable to convey their message because it seems invasive in certain settings.  When we launched, the immediate feedback was, ‘I’ve never been asked so much about my sunglasses.’  This leads to ‘show and tell’ and initiates conversations about the environment and the future possibilities for environmentally focused construction.”

Designer, spokesperson, and World Surfing Champion Taylor Jensen is definitely on board with that. “I’m all about supporting companies because they are doing the right thing for the planet and because they share the same beliefs as me,” Jensen says. “My signature [Kurtis Eyewear] design is handcrafted, eco-friendly and beautiful… epic sunglasses.”

Considered to be wearable art, these shades hold a list price of about $200. “Not all sunglasses are created equally,” explains Shipcott. “Most sunglasses are made from plastic injection molds and hinges are plugged by a machine with very little human interaction. Quality handcrafted eyewear spends many hours in the hands of quality artisans through dozens of stages of development. Kurtis Eco-Friendly Eyewear is created with passion and made of natural, sustainable bamboo.”

SCGH confirms: The passion is evident and the result inspiring. Kurtis and Jensen have developed a truly innovative product that achieves much more than its promise to protect your eyes from the sun—it’s an experience, a statement, and a chance to be part of a movement.

“These [sunglasses] were created for individuals that want to save their eyes from UV rays and to lower their carbon footprint in style,” says Shipcott. “We have great supporters … but until your neighbor that doesn’t recycle takes an active approach, we must all do what we can and lead by example.”

For related articles, see:
Environmentally Friendly Clothes
Khmu Craftswomen Create Earth’s Greenest Bag
Be an Activist in Your Everyday Life

© 2013 SCGH, LLC.

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