Costa's Jeffrey Ravreby and Sarah Graves at Vision Expo
Costa launched an ambitious plastic lens recycling program at last week’s Vision Expo East eyewear/eyecare trade show at New York’s Javits Center.
“We have three pillars: perform, explore, protect,” said Jeffrey Ravreby, optical division sales manager for the Daytona Beach-based sunglasses manufacturer. “This is about protecting the environment.”
Costa’s new Kick Plastic Lens Recycling Program extends its larger longstanding Kick Plastic initiative to raise awareness of the ocean pollution from single-use plastic.
“We’re a very cause-driven company,” said Ravreby of Costa, which was formed by a group of fishermen in 1983. “We try to protect our watery playground in which our world brand is centered, and several years ago we began Kick Plastic to educate, inform and reduce the use of plastic in the practices. This is the next generation.”
Ravreby estimated 200 million non-biodegradable plastic lenses discarded every year by the optical industry.
“They’re there forever, so we started the program for [eyecare professionals] to save all their demo plastic lenses that they pop out and discard to fill prescriptions,” he said. “They can then send the lenses to [leading plastics supplier] Piedmont Plastics for recycling into products like safety glasses, motorcycle helmet shields and scuba masks.”
Two Piedmont Plastics locations are participating at this time—one in Daytona Beach and one in La Mirada, Calif. Eyecare professionals who take part in the program can become Costa Kick Plastic Ambassadors and receive a special designation as a Kick Plastic Ambassador on the Costa dealer locator website as well as Kick Plastic water bottles for their staff and communication materials to encourage patients to join the campaign.
“For 35 years, Costa has been committed to making great sunglasses and protecting the water we love,” Costa CEO Holly Rush told Vision Monday. “Working together across the optical industry to create sustainable solutions that help protect our planet and address plastic pollution is a priority for us. Our lens recycling program is a tangible way we can all work together to create meaningful change—our goal is to onboard 1,000 practices in Year One, which will allow us to recycle and repurpose over 50 tons of plastic lenses.”
Costa is a member of the Surfrider Foundation’s Coastal Defenders program, and last year teamed with the foundation in hosting 35 beach cleanups from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31. As part of its Kick Plastic initiative, it uses bio-based instead of petroleum-based plastic resin in its plastic sunglass frames in order to reduce emissions and overall carbon footprint.
“We do our part,” said Ravreby, “and hope the optical industry will do so, too.”
Costa's Kick Plastic program