From flakes to frames

Okia’s new products aim to create value from waste

Mido Okia eyewear

Okia launched a biodegradable lens and frames that are “upcycled” from plastic bottles last month at Mido in Milan (23–25 February).

The new products are part of the company’s ambition to “focus on how to make the world better,” Okia’s managing director, Jacky Lam, said during a presentation at the trade show.

Mr Lam explained that sustainability is important to most consumer groups and cited WGSN research, which found that the fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world.

“We’re asking, ‘What can do we do about it?’,” he said.

Okia’s new Reshape frames are “upcycled rather than recycled” in order to create value from waste, the company explained.

The Reshape collection requires five plastic bottles for one frame. Each bottle is broken down into flakes and then granules before being upcycled into a frame.

Speaking to OT about Reshape, Mr Lam explained: “When a plastic bottle is thrown away there aren’t many facilities to recycle the material. We spent a lot of time with a facility to process, clean and provide us with the material to develop a frame.”

Bio Lens 2.0 is Okia’s 100% biodegradable lens, which is designed to replace demo-lenses – a product that the company said is the “most useful but wasteful product.”

Mr Lam said: “When the shop sells the frame, they pop out the demo lens and throw it into landfill. It stays there for thousands of years. With our biodegradable materials, it starts to biodegrade within 10 days of hitting landfill.”

Okia is taking its Bio Lens 2.0 product to different companies and Mr Lam described it like Intel taking its computer chip to lots of different companies.

“We have a material that we want to sell to as many people as possible,” he concluded.