Norwich-based Coleman Opticians is aiming to reduce the amount of waste in our oceans by stocking glasses and sunglasses created with recycled plastic and fishing nets rescued from landfills and oceans all over the world.
The local practice which has been situated on Norwich’s St Augustine’s Street for over 75 years has today (1st October) become the first UK optician to partner with sustainable brand Coral Eyewear. From today, the practice will stock a variety of unisex shapes and colours from the sustainable brand’s new Endangered Collection.
The Coral Eyewear frames are created with ECONYL®, pellets of recycled nylon created from recycled ocean fishing nets and fabric scraps from the landfill. The ECONYL® process reduces the global warming impact of nylon by up to 90% when compared with the material from oil and instead of adding environmentally-damaging lacquer, gloss or varnish, the frames are tumbled for smoothness.
Coral Eyewear has been developed by university student George Bailey alongside his father Calvin and The University of East Anglia’s Enterprise Fund. The sustainable start-up received £50,000 to test eco-friendly materials in November last year and has since received backing and support from Norfolk entrepreneur and TV personality Jake Humphrey.
George said: “It’s so exciting to be working with Coleman Opticians and I’m delighted that Coral Eyewear will have a great high-street presence here in Norfolk. Coleman Opticians is a great fit for the brand, and I believe this partnership can make a real impact in our bid to move the industry towards recycled, eco-friendly materials.
I’ve lived locally in Norfolk for a number of years and it’s great to see initiatives like the contact lens recycling scheme and water refill station already in practice. I think that our frames are the next positive environmental swap and we hope it’s the start of a long-term partnership where our frames will eventually return to us for recycling.”
600,000 tonnes of fishing nets are thought to be abandoned in our oceans every year, taking up to 600 years to break down. During this time, tiny fragments called microplastics are ingested by animals and World Animal Protection estimates just one abandoned net entangles 30-40 marine animals per year.
Director of Coleman Opticians Katie Fenn said: ‘As a local independent business we strive to improve our carbon footprint year on year and supporting local entrepreneur George on this exciting innovation, really was a no brainer. The range of glasses are bright, attractive, and knowing how they have been produced will hopefully be the start of a new way of thinking in the future’.