|ZEAL Style No. DPB0013 is made from castor oil, a renewal resource that not only increases sustainability, but eliminates harmful crude oil from the manufacturing process.|
|A TOTAL PACKAGE ZEAL Optics recently introduced ACE, a frame line the company claims is the first biodegradable sunglass. Made in Colorado by ZEAL, ACE is crafted from M-49-a material developed by renowned Italian plastics manufacturer Mazzucchelli using 100% American-grown cotton. ZEAL asserts that ACE is the greenest sunglass ever developed when matched with its e-llume lenses.|
|Made from castor seeds, MODO’s new Eco Biobased line is lightweight and flexible.|
|Look to companies like Revo for sport performance sunglasses that are eco-friendly (Style No. RE4056 shown here).|
|Environmentally friendly frames come in a range of designs, including ICUEyewear’s sunglass reader Style No. 8005.|
ECPs can protect Mother Earth while diversifying their frame boards with environmentally friendly eyewear.
With all the frame material choices available to the public, it might sometimes seem unclear to consumers which one to choose when deciding on a pair of eyewear. In order to keep this from happening, you need a category of materials that grabs the attention of potential buyers and offers them something different and exceptional. One way you can do this is to carry eco-friendly eyewear. The materials in this eyewear have distinctive properties and a unique story because they are environmentally friendly. That fact alone grabs the attention of a lot of people these days as social consciousness becomes more widely favored by the U.S. public.
Expand your knowledge of this dynamic eyewear category with the following questions and answers that can help explain why eco-friendly eyewear can be a good fit for your office.
WHAT EXACTLY DOES ‘ECO-FRIENDLY’ MEAN?
Also known as environmentally friendly, the term refers to actions, policies, laws, regulations, etc. that won’t impose any harm to the earth’s eco-system. Companies that wish to claim that they are eco-friendly can reference International Organization for Standardization (ISO) for guidelines that detail eco-friendly principles and procedures.
With the increase in consumers’ interest in wanting to save Mother Earth for future generations, as well as them wanting to live in a less polluted world, many companies are taking steps to become more eco-friendly. These organizations are also finding a competitive advantage by marketing the fact that they are environmentally aware and working to create a less dramatic impact on the environment. And the optical industry is no exception.
WHAT KIND OF EYEWEAR PRODUCTS ARE ECO-FRIENDLY?
There are a number of frame materials that are eco-friendly. Wood, for example, is a popular eco-friendly material. It’s wonderfully renewable because it’s made from trees that can be replaced with a newly planted one. Wood is also non-allergenic and non-toxic. Most wood frames are unique because each piece of wood used in the frame’s fabrication is different from the others made from the same piece. This is one reason why wood frames usually have a premium price tag. Some companies have gone even further by repurposing wood that has already been used for some other reason. One company, Iwood Ecodesign, uses reclaimed wood from the interior of private luxury jets to craft their wood eyeglass frames.
Bamboo is another popular material and companies like Proof Eyewear use it. Bamboo is plentiful worldwide and can be sustainably replanted. While very lightweight, bamboo is also strong and flexible.
ZEAL Optics uses a frame material that’s made from castor oil, a renewal resource that not only increases sustainability, but also eliminates harmful crude oil from the manufacturing process. ZEAL also offers lenses that utilize a plant-based bonding agent. Known as e-llume, these lenses replace the petroleum-based lenses widely used in the optical industry. E-llume lenses offer complete UVA, B, and C absorption as well as HEV light absorption.
SHOULD I CARRY ECO-FRIENDLY EYEWEAR IN MY OFFICE?
What you offer your patients is, of course, an individual decision. What is clear is that the public is increasingly interested in supporting businesses that promote environmentally friendly practices so adding eco-friendly eyewear to your inventory makes sense. There are plenty of choices in a range of designs so you won’t have any trouble finding styles you want to offer. Look to companies like Smith Optics, MODO Eyewear, Revo, Drift Eyewear, Herrlicht, and ICU Eyewear, for example.
WHAT ARE GOOD WAYS TO PROMOTE ECO-FRIENDLY EYEWEAR?
While you might carry eco-friendly eyewear, it’s not enough to simply stock and display it-you have to market it. Consider placing a sign on the dispensing table that tells patients to ask for eyewear that was made by eco-friendly means and/or is made from environmentally friendly materials. Ask the frame manufacturers who produce this kind of eyewear for any P-O-P materials they might have which can also help you get the word out. Consider offering a special promotion on Earth Day and publicize it to your patients. Include an eco-friendly choice in the frames you show each patient. This will give you the opportunity to mention its environmentally friendly characteristics.
CAN I DISPENSE ECO-FRIENDLY EYEWEAR LIKE ANY OTHER EYEWEAR?
As far as frame fitting goes, the process is exactly the same as it would be for a frame made with any other ophthalmic material. Since some eco-friendly materials are fairly rigid, however, there is little adjusting that can be done. For example, a wood frame is pretty unforgiving; it either fits or it doesn’t. There is some minor adjusting you can do to it but if you try doing too much adjusting you’ll probably hear that horrible “œsnap” sound that will tell you the temple you were working on just broke in two pieces. Bamboo is very fibrous and while it can be flexible, it’s not very adjustable. Fitting lenses into some eco-friendly frames can also be challenging because of their inflexible composition. You’ll have to “œcold snap” plastic lenses into some of them, for example, so perfect sizing will be important. Undersize the lens a little and you’ll be making another one. As you purchase your inventory, check with each manufacturer’s representative to ensure you know what special attention each needs.
IS ECO-FRIENDLY EYEWEAR MORE EXPENSIVE THAN OTHER EYEWEAR?
Eco-friendly eyewear frames are priced like frames made from other ophthalmic materials. Frames made from traditional materials like acetate, monel, titanium, and stainless steel have a wide pricing range-everything from very inexpensive to very expensive. Eco-friendly eyewear pricing is the same. Depending on what you buy, the cost will vary. This array of pricing is an advantage for this eyewear material category because it enables you to choose the price points you’re comfortable offering in your practice instead of being forced to present high-priced products just to be environmentally friendly.
Being eco-friendly is not only socially conscious, it can be good business. With all the choices in this category, you won’t have any difficulty finding what sells.
Ed De Gennaro is Director, Professional Content of First Vision Media Group.
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