Eyewear looking at green chems

Eyewear manufacturers like what they see when it comes to renewable-based chemicals.

According to Japanese chemical company Teijin, their new plant-based heat-resistant bioplastic BIOFRONT will be the first bioplastic to be used for all plastic parts of an eyeglass frame. The frames were developed in collaboration with Tanaka Foresight Inc., which Teijin said manufactures and sells around 60% of all plastic eyeglass parts in Japan.

Tanaka Foresight expects to soon sell between 50,000 and 100,000 pairs of BIOFRONT eyeglasses per year. Teijin said that conventional polylactide bioplastic has been used for eyeglass nose pads but not for other parts such as frames and temples because of insufficient heat resistance.

BIOFRONT is said to offer heat resistance comparable to that of oil-based plastics. It is also said to be highly resistant to bleaching and bacteria, making it ideal for the plastic parts of eyeglasses.

The company plans to mass produce 5,000 tons of BIOFRONT in fiscal 2010.

Meanwhile, other eyewear manufacturers, Revo and Smith Optics, have already been using recycled materials (in Revo’s case) and plant-based materials (for Smith Optics). Revo recently featured its new 100% recycled pre-consumer nylon plastic Revo Re-Use technology, which is incorporated into select frames within the company’s new Revo Polarcast collection.

Revo Re-Use sunglasses are now available at all Sunglass Hut locations in the US.

Smith Optics, meanwhile, have teamed up with French specialty chemical company Arkema for its new Evolve sunglasses collection featuring Arkema’s Rilsan Clear G830 Rnew technology. The technology is composed of 54% bio-based raw material derived from castor oil.

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