The Environmental Impact Of Glasses

Mar 2, 2020

the environmental impact of glasses

When it comes to saving the planet, we automatically think of recycling, reducing our carbon footprint and switching off more lights. There’s a lot we can do to help reduce the impact on our planet, but one area often overlooked is in our direct line of sight: our eyewear. 

As of 2023, over 4 billion people in the world wear glasses. This includes sunglasses, prescription glasses, skiing goggles and more. With single-use plastic being a popular glass frame material and ‘fast fashion’ being an acceptable trend, many glasses frames end up in one place: landfill. 

But it’s not all doom and gloom, and we can certainly see some light shining through. Thanks to eyewear manufacturers reviewing their processes, brands promoting recyclable options and companies like Lensologly offering reglazing services so you can reglaze and reuse your existing specs, there is some hope that we can make the eyewear industry more sustainable.

So, what impact do glasses frames have on the environment? How is the world making them more eco-friendly, and what can we do as glasses wearers to help?


How are glasses impacting the environment?

As we mentioned, like many other products, glasses frames are often made from plastic because it’s a sturdy yet flexible material. It’s also easy to use and cheap to manufacture. However, we all know it’s not biodegradable. So, heaps of unwanted glasses frames are chunked into landfills and forgotten. Worse than that, they could be found in waterwaters such as lakes, rivers and oceans, potentially harming the sealife in those habitats.


Can I recycle my glasses frames?

Most spectacles are made of non-recyclable materials and cannot be processed through local recycling systems. Although this is a big issue, another problem is for many of us, we don’t know what our glasses frames are made from! So we might be able to recycle them, but we’re not sure how.

We always recommend checking with your local opticians if your frames are recyclable. These days, many opticians have recyclable collection boxes for you to leave your glasses in, and they’ll ensure they’re correctly disposed of via companies who can recycle or reuse the materials, upcycling them into something else.


How can I make my glasses more sustainable?

Becoming eco-friendly with your glasses starts with some small steps, and there are lots of things you can do to ensure your glasses are doing their best for you and the planet. 

Recycle – if your glasses are made from a recyclable material such as wood, steel, aluminium or recyclable plastic, you can recycle them via local authorities. Alternatively, some opticians will accept old glasses frames for them to be recycled correctly. 

Reglaze – at Lensology, we encourage wearers to keep their favourite frames and simply reglaze the lens instead. It’s a cheaper and more eco-friendly option and allows you to transform your glasses into prescription frames, sunglasses or transitional lenses. 

Repair – for minor breakages, specialist shops can reattach a broken arm or lost nose pad. For damaged lenses, Lensology can replace your lens like-for-like or even add some bonus finishes, so you don’t have to purchase new frames.

Donate – There are charitable organisations that will accept glasses that are still in good condition. They can give your frames a second life by passing them to someone who needs glasses but might not be able to afford them.

Shop from ethical brands – no matter your budget, numerous eyewear brands are upping their sustainability efforts. Do a little research into your favourite designer’s values and sustainability promises to know the impact your glasses have on the world.


What are eyewear manufacturers doing about it?

Brands are becoming more conscious that consumers prefer to shop with establishments that use their platform and resources to help minimise damage to the planet. It means consumers do their bit by spending money with those who will use it for good. 

Whether using ethically sourced, natural materials, offering recycling, reglazing and repair services, or reviewing their production processes to reduce their carbon footprint, big names are seeing the impact eyewear has on the environment and starting to make changes.


Reglaze, don’t replace your glasses

Although the eyewear industry has introduced several positive changes, there’s still a long way to go, and right now, it’s tricky to completely eradicate all environmentally damaging processes. We also understand that our choice of eyewear may be limited to our budget, eyecare requirements and what’s available on the market. 

However, there are always things we can do to make a difference. For one, reglazing your existing frames rather than throwing them away and purchasing new ones. Not only does this save you money, but you don’t have to worry about booking optician appointments because it can all be done online and via our quick postal service. But more importantly, it reduces the impact of the environment by simply updating the lenses in your frames.


Lensology’s Sustainability Mission

As the leading brand for lens reglazing within the UK, we’re proud of our efforts to help all of us reduce our environmental impact. Our expert technicians have worked with the biggest names and can easily reglaze lenses for any shape, style or type of glasses. So, there’s really no excuse, and you can rest assured your frames are in the safest hands. Our reglazing services include:

Upgrading your lenses – whether you’re repairing a damaged lens or looking to upgrade your glasses, we offer lots of incredible lens features such as coloured tints, blue light filters, anti-fog, anti-scratch, Transitional lenses, and so much more.

Inserting prescriptions – if your optical prescription changes, we can reglaze your lens to meet your new short or long-sighted requirements. This includes single vision, bifocals or varifocals lenses fitted directly into your existing frames.

Focusing on Postal Services – we have one showroom based in Watroom, where customers can have their lenses reglazed in-store. Everything else is done via our free and secure postal service so we can support customers throughout the UK. 

Keeping everything in-house – everything we do happens in one location. We have a state-of-the-art lab and a highly qualified team within our head office. This means we reduce our carbon footprint and production line, as well as save money, which is reflected in our incredible prices.  

Look at our FAQ page, view our range of lenses or jump straight into requesting a reglazing pack!

Ready to order your FREE pack?

We provide a free postal pack that is delivered straight to your door, inclusive of a free return postage box for your frames. You’ll just need to provide a few simple details and then we can get it over to you ASAP!