A local Nottingham man is collecting people’s old glasses in a bid to conquer the “landfill of mess” left behind by opticians and help train eye doctors in Africa.
Peter Bates, who works in human services from the NHS to employment services, is taking in second-hand glasses to recycle.
In just the last ten days of November, he has taken in 150 pairs of glasses to donate to Peep Eyewear Opticians from Loughborough, who pride themselves in ‘stocking eco-friendly glasses’.
Discussing the reasons behind the strange move, he said: “You can’t get anymore sustainable than vintage”.
In November, Peter Bates stumbled across information that Vision Aid Charity had been for around 30 to 40 years collecting unwanted glasses to fix-up and send over to Africa for visual aid for locals.
The founder of Peep Eyewear, Jo Skelton, said: “We are receiving lots of recycling donations daily – people just don’t want them to go in the bin.
“This has increased since Vision Aid Oversees stopped their recycling scheme which opticians used to donate old glasses on behalf of their customers”.
At one point Vision Aid had 2000 opticians collecting unwanted glasses and recycling them, in an attempt to tackle the three to five million pairs off glasses that end up in landfill every year.
However, this came to and end as it was obvious “the glasses were often rubbish, no good and this approach was not helping develop the skills of local [opticians]”, Peter Bates explained.
Vision Aid took a new approach of melting down glasses and using the gold as money to help train local opticians in Africa.
Peter Bates, 64, said: “There was then less in landfill, it protected rare Earth metals, and local skills”.
Unfortunately this charitable scheme by Vision Aid finished on the basis of “not meeting charitable purposes”, which is what inspired Peter to do his own bit.
Peter explained: “I might do this again next November, but I am not in a position to permanently collect them.
“I luckily found an unusual opticians that are sustainable; they will even plant a tree for every pair of glasses sold”.
He urges people to be more aware of where their old specs end up, and anyone who can, to collect and contribute to opticians like Peep Eyewear – Sustainable one-of-a-kind prescription glasses.