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Striking out

With the arrival of spring comes a new call for a greener approach – and optics can get involved

25 Apr 2019 by John White

It’s time to dig out the shorts, Hawaiian shirts and the flip flops; if last weekend is anything to go by, summer is around the corner.

As I enjoyed the warm weather in the garden, I realised that I was watching a live-action episode of Spring Watch. A pair of blackbirds were engaged in an elaborate mating ritual on the garden wall worthy of David Attenborough commentary, the apple tree was a riot of blossom, and the pond was a busy ripple and plopping of leaping frogs.

As pleasant as the unseasonably warm weather was, the timing seemed unerringly appropriate as environmental activists took to the streets, bridges and trees of London to make the case for urgent government action on climate change.

The plain-speaking words of the 16-year-old student, Greta Thunberg, who has travelled from Sweden having kickstarted a global youth-based movement to “climate strike,” this week were poignant. Addressing UK MPs, she said: “You don’t listen to the science because you are only interested in solutions that will enable you to carry on like before.”

In optics, manufacturers and optical practice alike have been challenging themselves to take a greener and sustainable approach – a topic OT dedicated its November 2017 edition to. In the last few months, Johnson & Johnson Vision has launched its programme to recycle contact lenses and the individual packs. Supported by Terracycle, the contact lens manufacturer highlighted to OT that “contact lenses themselves may be small in size, but over 725m are thrown away each year in the UK alone, with 15% of that contact lens waste flushed away.”

We have also heard from CooperVision on its latest commitment to energy and water conservation during the manufacturing of its one day silicone hydrogel contact lenses in Costa Rica.

And OT, too, continues to think about its footprint, including the biodegradable potato starch wrap each edition of OT arrives in. Look out for your May edition this weekend.

Please do get in touch with the OT team to share the environmentally conscious initiatives that you have implemented in the practice – along with ideas for projects that the profession should embrace.

Image credit: Getty/DisobeyArt

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