Biodegradable Sunglasses Made from Cotton: The Ace from Zeal Optics

How on Earth do you make sunglasses from cotton? That's the real mystery behind the release of the Ace, which Zeal Optics announced last week. Their press release and video are pretty scant on details, besides a fleeting reference to "cotton resins."

And they also don't address other important details like "Will they shrink if they accidentally go through the wash?" or "Can I use the end of the ear piece like a Q-tip?"

All joking aside, this is a very intriguing development in the world of gear materials and could have very positive implications if it motivates other companies to switch over their products from traditional petroleum-based plastics to ones made from cotton. (Note that it's just the frames of the Ace that are made from cotton. The lenses are e-llume, "the world's first lens using a plant-based bonding agent, thus replacing the petroleum-based bonder.")

The Ace from Zeal Optics
To develop Zeal Optics partnered with the Mazzucchelli family business in Italy, who somehow magically transforms the U.S.-grown cotton Zeal provides them with into "Risky Business" eco-style. (That's their image up top, promoting their new bioplastic.)

There's little from the company that details how long it takes for these sunglasses to biodegrade, though in the above video there is reference to it taking about 18 months for the frames to completely dissolve if you drop them in the ocean.

The Ace retails for $169 and is available in a range of colors.
 
Equipped” is an AMC Outdoors blog, written by Matt Heid.

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