Today is World Environmental Day and I think the one thing I have learned during this pandemic is our planet is healing and it is starting to feel a little better. I personally find that totally amazing. When I wrote the article on a new brand CONES & RODS they wrote an interesting fact in their press release and that is roughly 50% of eyewear that gets made in the world will end up being thrown away. That is a very scary fact to read.
I am also thinking about now we are in the thick of this pandemic, so much PPE gear is being made (which is of course much needed) but do you know what, most of them are basically plastic. The face shields, the disposable masks and the gowns. The masks and gowns may not look like plastic but most of them are made out of plastic fibres. They are all used once and get thrown away for hygiene reasons so can you even imagine how much waste we are producing right now during this pandemic?
Personally, I have never thrown away a pair of glasses so I simply do not understand how people can do that. I have lost a few pairs of sunglasses but never purposely thrown them out. For those that do, I am also wondering what type of glasses are they? Are they cheap reading glasses? Are they the sunglasses you can buy in fashion retailers? Or are they just the cheap glasses you buy from big chain opticians that you change every two years? All these questions I have floating around my head. Then the next big question is how will the pandemic impact this? Will consumers buy less “throwaway” stuff? Will consumers want to buy better quality products that will last the test of time? Then most importantly for the optical sector, will consumers change their glasses less?
As a glasses wearer, we are advised to get our eyes tested every two years and if you need a new prescription then you shall need new lenses and maybe a new frame too whilst you are at it. However, will the pandemic make people want to just reuse the frames they have and just get new lenses? Often the opticians will sell you a new pair of frames to go with your new prescription but will consumers put a stop to that? Then there is another question, will the vintage glasses sector thrive too post-pandemic?
At the moment I think we are all a bit in the dark because no one truly knows how or when will this end. No one has all the answers to everything we want to know and I certainly don’t have answers, unfortunately. All I know is this pandemic has certainly changed my view on a lot of things, like how I consume things and what do I really need in life? I certainly do not need another dress, another pair of shoes or another pair of glasses. haha! It is making a lot of people think what really matters in life and we do perhaps need to look after our planet more, our wildlife more and rethink how we operate as people and as businesses. That is what we need to think about. The most important question to ask ourselves is, how do we want to live in the future?