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Vision & Eye Q3 2022

Choose sustainability at your next sight test

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Daryl Newsome FBDO R CL SMC (Tech)

President, Association of British Dispensing Opticians

Did you know that you can make sustainable choices when you next visit the opticians? Whether you are visiting for a sight test or looking for new frames, optical practices can offer you environmentally friendly choices.

We are all aware of the need to make sustainable choices and now there are many more eco-friendly options when looking for new eyewear. Many optical manufacturers have been working towards making spectacle frames in a more sustainable way.

Sustainable eyewear

Dispensing opticians can tell you about the raw materials involved in making your frames and how they are sourced. Some manufacturers now meet demanding sustainability certification requirements such as ISO9001 and FSC certifications for wood. More and more plastics used in frames are bio-acetates which are better for the environment, can be made without oil-based plasticisers and are biodegradable.

Packaging and cleaning go green

There have been changes in the packaging that frames are supplied in too, with manufacturers using recycled or biodegradable plastic or switching to light card boxes to deliver frames to the optician. You can now find cases made from sustainable materials such as recycled plastic bottles or eco-friendly cork. Cleaning your specs has become more sustainable, with refillable spray bottles of cleaning fluid available from some practices and cleaning cloths made from recycled plastic bottles too.

You can now find cases made from sustainable materials such as recycled plastic bottles or eco-friendly cork.

Update your old frames

We all know that it is good to reuse as well as recycle. If you have some old frames in good condition that you like, why not get their lenses updated at the same time as you buy a new pair, so you have your up-to-date prescription in both frames, whether you need a spare pair or like to alternate which ones you wear. It is now also possible to find vintage frames and have them glazed to your prescription. Ask the optician to see if the frame is in good condition before you do this as materials can become brittle with time.

Your next steps

As a consumer, you can make a difference too. In a recent research project on the carbon footprint of optical practices, transport was one of the key causes of greenhouse gas emissions, so why not see if you can walk or use public transport to get to your next appointment? If you would like more sustainable eyewear next time you go to the opticians, ask the dispensing optician to show you their sustainable ranges of frames.

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