Antonia Chitty, Head of Communications and IT at the Association associated with British Dispensing Opticians, provides insight into sustainable eyewear plus eye treatment purchase
Have you ever thought about the particular plastics used in your spectacles or contact lenses? If you visit your local optician, is there a wall of sustainable eyewear for you to choose from? Sustainability is on the public agenda and here to stay, and opticians are adapting too .
Optical practice owners in the UK plus beyond are usually considering becoming more environmentally friendly. One of the critical parts of this is lasting procurement: ensuring that all practice supplies are as environmentally friendly as possible. Read on to learn more about eco friendly eyewear and eye care.
Kevin Gutsell is Vice President associated with the Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO). He is part of the Association’s working group on sustainability and also runs Optic Centre Supplies Ltd (Centrostyle). He says, “Many of the issues surrounding sustainability are problems we’ve never really faced. The question is, where do we start? And I believe it starts with the people – get people behind you to set up the processes so they believe in the outcomes. ” Kevin has been involved in ABDO’s Thinking Green campaign, which works with trade press plus across social media in order to ensure every optician and optometrist is aware of the free resources ABDO has developed to help them become more sustainable. He has also participated in ABDO’s annual SEE Summit for the optical community. Bringing together professional bodies, manufacturers plus suppliers, and individual practitioners, this event focuses on Social, Environmental plus Economic factors in developing sustainable businesses, otherwise known as people, planet and profits. Kevin says, “What all of us saw from the SEE Summit is that most suppliers have a policy in how they obtain materials, how they package, the way they transport and are aiming to become greener in their own right. ”
Quizzing providers on ecological eyewear and eye treatment
Optometrist Simon Berry offers developed the questionnaire he uses with all his suppliers. It covers whether the particular supplier provides its own environmental policy or even any environment or other certification. It asks about the traceability associated with materials plus whether manufacturing conditions are usually humane and ethical. The questionnaire furthermore looks at the source of materials in the product, whether the material is recyclable, plus whether the manufacturer makes efforts to reduce the particular environmental impact of its packaging.
Implementing a questionnaire like this benefits businesses and helps answer patient questions. Simon states, “I think the best thing about starting to communicate sustainability findings with patients is that they may never have thought about the issues in our industry. It’s that slight change associated with mindset that will make the biggest difference in the long run. ”
Acting on sustainable eyewear packaging
After reducing our carbon footprint, the reduction of waste will be a vital issue. Packaging is an area exactly where we can all see waste – but before they rush in order to put the particular packaging in the recycling bin, optical exercise managers plus suppliers are being encouraged to think about how to reduce this in the first place. The particular waste hierarchy illustration outlines how saying no in order to excess packaging is the first step. As a result, more and more practice owners are opening a dialogue with suppliers and asking them to think about how these people package the products they will send out. Suppliers are usually responding along with a move away from single-use plastics and reducing any excess materials altogether.
Recycling frames and lens
Consumer demand for recycling frames plus lenses is usually growing. People want to see their local exercise taking back items they have supplied. Several companies currently offer recycling boxes for optical practices, including:
• Recycline – spectacle structures and lenses.
• Refactory (formerly Reworked) – spectacle frames and lens.
• Opticlean – dummy lenses.
• Terracycle – contact lens.
You can explore each company’s website in order to see what they do with the particular plastics and, in some cases, metals that they reclaim.
Sustainable eyeglasses and eye care standards
“Sustainability is definitely something all business should be aware of and more importantly acting upon, ” says Tim Baker associated with BIB Ophthalmic Instruments. “BIB Ophthalmic instruments is conscious of and engaged in sustainability.
Parts of sustainability are touched upon in our own ISO-9001 requirements but there are now more detailed, a lot more specific and much more relevant specifications that can be achieved. Quite often these standards are accomplished by the manufacturer, rather than the UK distributor or wholesaler. ” The Optical Suppliers Organization (OSA) Sustainability Committee was formed to assist members achieve better durability in their own business practice along with a recognised accreditation that will also be evidenced based and maintained. Tim says, “This starts with appointment of the sustainability officer/representative. You can then go on to ask for the companies Sustainability or even Environmental Policy Statement along with any accreditations, which includes those of manufacturers they represent. ”
A message for optical practices
Kevin Gutsell has a message for optic practices to take on board: “You may not be right here when the temperature rises. If you’re my age you may have seen glass bottles replaced by plastic ones, and the recent realisation that we all may be better off using glass after all. We don’t know what will happen inside the future, but we need in order to do the best for that planet, for our children plus grandchildren. Don’t look back and wish you had made a change, make that will change right now. ”