Skip to main content
Open Question to Pela Vision

Open Question to Pela Vision

We recently came across these uber cool glasses, but after spending 2 days digging for specific facts, we found a lot of general Eco, and a little specific Eco Pela info

It seems we aren't the first to try and get a clearer understanding of Pela Glasses and given Pela's extraordinarily excellent marketing and heavily promoted concerns about greenwashing, we expected to get some pretty clear answers quickly about Pela's eco credentials. 

Pela are a young Canadian brand, who originally sold compostable phone cases and who have both broadened their product range and are also sold directly and through an extraordinary number of excellent eco outlets around the world, including in Australia. You'd think that would mean that Pela's sustainability claims were watertight, transparent and well documented for all to see.  

But it seems that the most watertight thing about Pela is their excellent marketing and on point branding. I am not suggesting their products don't have eco credentials, but the brand is projecting well above any published facts. It seems that the 'least said' assessment strategy is still the most useful when you can't find a product's bona fides - if a business don't specifically tell you, or information is hard to find, or it's 'blurry'; assume green washing.

After spending days researching the web and asking direct questions of a Pela Vision - on social media (ignored) and via Messenger about the mechanics of how their sunglasses are biodegradable in landfill, we are kind of confused. Especially as Pela's own website contradicts their claims about landfill biodegradability in the case of their glasses. 

So Pela, here's our Open Question

Your sunglasses are beautiful, but can you provide factual substantiation of your claims that your sunglasses biodegrade in landfill and under which specific circumstances does biodegradability occur, in line with  your representative images? 

A lifecycle analysis would be really useful and any substantiation of your broad sustainability claims.

The conversation so far

Hi there. I am trying to understand how your glasses biodegrade. I sent you an email a month ago, but no one has responded. Just trying to reconcile the 'Biodegradable' info on these two pages:

  1. Info on compost / biodegrading. (Compostable products must fully break down leaving nothing behind within a year, and can only compost in a composting environment, not a landfill.  Biodegradable products may also fully break down over time, but do not have a set lifespan, and may take decades or centuries to fully degrade. Additionally, biodegradable products will not break down efficiently in a compost pile, and should instead be thrown away and sent to the landfill.) 
  2. Info claiming your sunglasses biodegrade in landfill on your home page which seems to contradict the point above. (Biodegradable: It's been a labour of love, getting rid of traditional hinges, and metal bits to ensure that we have perfected a sustainable pair of frames that will completely biodegrade in a landfill. We call this a "graceful end of life".)

Hi! Most conventional sunglasses are not recycled and end up in landfills.  Pela Vision Sunglasses and Lenses biodegrade in anaerobic landfill environments, as per ISO15985 and ASTM D5511 standards, so they won’t pile up as waste like conventional sunglasses. Or better yet, send your old ones back to us through our Pela 360 Program and we will upcycle or recycle them and keep them out of the landfill.

Hey, do you have any evidence of this? We are writing a story and are in the business of encouraging other businesses to pick up innovations like these so would love to get it?

Pela Vision Sunglasses and Lenses biodegrade in anaerobic landfill environments, as per ISO15985 and ASTM D5511 standards, I am sorry for any confusion but the materials used to meet both these standards. We have done our own rigorous testing of these materials that we use as well!

Oh ok, so that means they have been tested and verified?

The problem

There are no life cycle declarations. There are no validation images of Pela glasses biodegrading, only suggestive images. There are no direct statements from Pela about what materials their glasses are made of, but there are many statements about Pela phone cases materials and credentials in close vicinity to promotions for glasses.

It seems that many resellers have combined the two sets of information, assumed the glasses are made from the same material as the phone cases and are now advertising something that Pela technically never said. 

How consumers are 'confused'

Pela make a phone case and Air Pod case, around which they make very specific decomposition claims and provide visual evidence of their claims - at least in an industrial composting facility. 

“Pela Cases are 100% COMPOSTABLE and free of lead, cadmium, BPA and phthalates. Our cases are made of a proprietary blend of biopolymers and Canadian Prairie flax shive. Pela Cases are 100% COMPOSTABLE and free of lead, cadmium, BPA and phthalates. We make our cases from a revolutionary material - a proprietary blend of biopolymers and Canadian Prairie flax shive, called Flaxstic—which feels soft, grips well, and reliably protects your phone!"

“The Pela AirPods Case is made of Flaxstic®, which is comprised of compostable bioplastic elastomer and flax straw materials. Our material has been tested to be safe and free of phthalates, BPA, cadmium and lead and is verified to meet child safety standards in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Our base material meets U.S. (ASTM D6400-04) and E.U. (EN 13432) standards for composting in an industrial composting facility... It can also be left to biodegrade in a home composting environment.”

Here's how it ends up mashed up

The real issue here, apart from many of these businesses being highly reputable, is that landfill isn't generally designed to break down anything. Biodegradable or not. 

Life and Soul Magazine

"Pela Vision’s 100% biodegradable sunglasses are made with flax straw material and cellulose acetate derived from cotton and wood (renewable biopolymers). Pela Vision’s sunglasses are unique in that both the frames as well as the CAT 3 UV400 lenses will biodegrade in landfill environments."

Sustainable Jungle

"Pela’s frames are BPA and phthalate-free. They’re made of Flaxetate, which is 100% biodegradable Italian acetate mixed with flax shives. The UV 400 category 2 and 3 lenses are not compostable yet but are certified biobased.

Because it’s not entirely compostable…yet, the Pela 360 program allows you to return your unwanted sunglasses to be given to someone in need or recycled into a new pair. They write, “Are these sunglasses perfectly zero-waste? Nope, but they’re better than everything else out there.”

Biome Stores

"Pela believe that technology exists to make everyday products without everyday waste. Pela was inspired by the Spanish word that can mean peel or to peel. Their thought process was, what if you could guard your "Apple" with a natural "peel" and hence Pela was born! Pela's co-founder, Jeremy Lang, created the proprietary blend of starch-based elastomer with flax shive that has now created thousands of phone cases all over the world. Transferring their attention to eyewear, commenting that it's been a labour of love, getting rid of traditional hinges, and metal bits to ensure that they have perfected a sustainable pair of frames that will completely biodegrade in a landfill. They call this a "graceful end of life". 

Flora and Fauna

"Pela has created the world’s first 100% biodegradable pair of sunglasses. The frame and lenses are both biodegradable and will break down completely in landfill, as per ISO15985 and ASTM D5511 standards. Alternatively, you can send them back to us at F&F and we'll get them to Pela where they get recycled. Note: they don't break down in compost."

"Pela Vision is the world’s first 100% biodegradable pair of sunglasses. At the end of their life, even the lenses will break down and not harm the earth!"


"They started with biodegradable phone cases, and have now expanded to sunglasses. Their frames are made from 100% biodegradeable Italian acetate mixed with flax shives (Flaxetate). The lenses are certified bio based with CAT 2/3 UV400 protection. When you’re done with them, you can send them back to Pela, where they will either be cleaned them up and given to someone in need, turned into new products, or composted through their Pela 360 program."

Endless also tried

One USA business called Endless spelt out the Pela credentials and seemed to get a little further than us in terms of useful information regarding their broader sustainability credentials. In the end however, the question about end of life - biodegradability - is the platform on which the glasses are marketed and it remains unanswered, unsubstantiated and undeliverable. But you decide. 

Something incorrect here? Suggest an update below: