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    The growing green trend in optical

    Why some companies are taking the eco-friendly step

    If you’ve walked the show floor at a Vision Expo show in the last few years, you might have noticed a small, but growing trend in optical. Among the flashy displays, bright-colored frames in increasingly elaborate designs, you might notice more and more brands are taking on an eco-friendly approach to their fashionable frames.

    From eco-friendly manufacturing processes to natural materials to programs that give back, optical companies are finding new ways to keep it green. There are many optical companies that have environmentally-friendly practices, so Optometry Times spoke with a few of them to find out what they do—and why.

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    Eco-friendly manufacturing

    One of the biggest trends in eco-friendly optical companies is the switch from petroleum-based resins to plant-based resins. One of those companies that made the switch is Costa.

    “We’re able to extract the seeds from the castor plant,” says John Sanchez, Costa’s vice president of product development, “and those seeds are processed with our proprietary chemicals to make an ecological bio based injectable-molded plastic resin.”

    Sanchez says Costa switched after realizing that its products that were made with traditional plastic weren’t aligning with the core nature of its customers, who are generally outdoor enthusiasts.

    The company was able to make the transition thanks in part to its strong relationship with outdoor gear and clothing company Patagonia. Costa and Patagonia share both technology and ideas, and Costa was able to use some of Patagonia’s suppliers to help with the transition.

    “We had to challenge ourselves,” Sanchez says. “In that process of looking at the materials, we found not only did we find a product that lends itself to being very sustainable in an effort to reduce our overall carbon footprint but also one that withstood temperatures much colder, much hotter, and could work with other materials like rubber in ways that we weren’t able to use it before.”

    Next: Eco-friendly materials

    Colleen E. McCarthy
    Colleen McCarthy is a freelance writer based in the Cleveland area and a former editor of Optometry Times. She is a 2010 graduate of the ...


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