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Eyewear: a sector turned towards ecology?

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eyewear sector-ecology

Accessory that follows the modes, made from an assembly of several elements not conceived at the same place, all or partly refundable, nothing predestined the Ecological glasses to exist. However, in the small world of optics , in a global public opinion that is greatly concerned about the turn that takes certain events, we do not escape the rule. Because solutions exist. Ophthalmic optics are turning to ecology in several ways.

Natural materials: yes, but …

We have already mentioned the use of new materials that are natural and environmentally friendly in our articles. Of course, it is a step that goes in the right direction.

But if the ecological manufacture of the structure of an optical mount is clearly democratized, it is not similarly for all its elements, especially hinges for example, often made in China, and therefore subject to heavy and polluting goods transport.

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Many manufacturers are trying to move towards local solutions to reduce this deficit, which is still affecting the production of green glasses.

However, can using natural materials be considered truly ecological? In France alone, several tens of millions of glasses are sold each year, and imagining that one day none of them is made of plastic, that would be tantamount to using up more natural resources than currently!

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Looking at the numbers, selling 13 million glasses a year equals:

  • Produce 13 million plastic packaging and overpacks
  • Make 26 million glasses (knowing that you need 30L of water to cut 2 glasses or 390,000 cubic meters of water)
  • 26 million presentation templates
  • 48 tons of facial tissues to wipe the glasses (on a base of 3 per glass)

In addition, to make an acetate frame, only 20% of a plate is used because it is a material that degrades extremely fast.

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Recycling and end of life

So, what to do? A good way to answer this problem is, of course, the opportunity !

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Some opticians have even found in this parade an excellent way to put forward, because it is not only the mounts that can have several lives.
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Thus, David Benhaim , optician in the XI th arrondissement of Paris, has created a fully sustainable store , and not only because it recycles frames not or little used.

In her shop, from glasses to furniture, to tools, everything is recycled . By hiding, he was able to get his hands on models dating back to the 50s to which he was able to revive, for an average budget of 150 euros.

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In the same vein, Dan Alcabes, whose store is also located in Paris, but in the Xth arrondissement, founded Dingue de Lunettes. Also walking in the alleys flea markets, he restores glasses dating from all eras by hand.

Success is at the rendezvous, and it is often thanks to the desire on the part of customers to wear glasses that are not only unique, but also respectful of the environment.

Regarding the end of life of glasses, very often short because subject to the vagaries of fashion , again, many recycling solutions have been considered.

Eyeglass pairs can be recycled in solidarity, thanks to specialized NGOs.

The Association Sans Frontières collects frames and glasses to redistribute them to people in difficulty. This is also the case for the Medico Lions Club of France, which annually recovers nearly 100,000 pairs of glasses, recycles them and ships them around the world.

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Collections made possible by sensitization carried out by opticians, and which is part of an approach that is both environmentally friendly and supportive.

The MyBinocle website has launched the first optical consignment site. It is thus possible to sell a pair of glasses through an advertisement or to entrust to a MyBinocle optician who will review, clean and ship the pair of glasses sold.

To benefit more information, find on the blog our article on the second life offered to glasses.

Being accompanied, a good way to take stock

Understandably, wearing ecological glasses does not just mean wearing glasses made of wood, cork, algae or other green materials.

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No, it's a whole process that must be initiated by glassmakers, eyewear and opticians. This complicates the situation in many ways!

Indeed, it is very difficult to improvise manufacturers or reseller green if we have not imagined all the steps to implement to really make a difference.

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Often, full support is needed. This is the site of Ecological Glasses , concept launched by an experienced optician, blogger and influencer, Carole Riehl.

The Ecological Glasses accompany opticians according to their needs and their desires to engage in an ecological approach.

Coaching takes into account all the aspects necessary to become an ethically engaged optician: from the management of the store's waste to the proposals made to the customers , the brands with which engage …

Three formulas are available to the optician, the most complete of which lasts six months and proposes to make a carbon assessment of the store, the setting of objectives, the approach to consider with suppliers, slowmarketing and many other concepts to be labeled as an ecologically engaged optician.

Digitization: a solution?

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In a digitally changing world, there are still obstacles to digitization: financial investment, organizational rigidity or the lack of digital knowledge.
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Following a round table organized by Atol opticians, there has been some reluctance in occupations where the human is highly privileged.

Digitization has a number of advantages : prolonged contact with the customer, precision in measurements, immersive customer experiences or powerful sales tools.

Of course, EDI offers sustainable solutions for the entire supply chain of optical trades.

The expected explosion of connected glasses also risks drastically changing our way of wearing glasses, whether in terms of their manufacture , their use but also their renewal .

At the digital level, the amazing modernity takes us to spheres still unknown at the moment.


Eco-responsibility, first of all a transparent approach

In order to promote a completely ecological approach in the world of optics, it is essential, as a first step, to be transparent

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Questioning the market is also essential: should we continue to offer multi-equipment offers , second pairs at very low prices, while the customer's need at this level? is not always identified?

Should we move towards a local or biological approach? What are the priorities that will have a positive impact not only on the environment but also on the market itself?

The ecological glasses boom is clearly in the right direction, but there are so many outstanding questions, and especially a lot of work to be done, that we should hear about it many times in the coming years …