A recent Swedish proposal could see the reduction in taxes for services that repair or re use items. The main goal of this initiative is to increase skills in the local economy, retain knowledge and of course reduce waste. Click here to see the video.
I find this interesting as in optics there has been a strong push in the last decade to commoditise eye care and have spectacles made off site, most often overseas in large factories where the person is not an optician but a process worker. There have even been proposals from the two big players in Australian optometry to have all optical education removed from the course for opticians.
The net result of this, as I see it, is that there has been a reduction in craftsmanship as well as a separation of spectacles from the wearer. They are no longer viewed as being an extension of the wearer, indeed some companies would have us believe that they are no more than bits of plastic. Speaking as someone who has worn spectacles since the age of two, they are so much more than that. Spectacles are a gateway to a world that would otherwise have been denied to me. Looking back to the nineteenth century when poor eyesight was viewed as a disease, this meant that almost everyone over forty years of age was considered defective and had begun a decline in quality of life and lost productivity. Josef Rodenstock viewed poor vision not as a disease but as something that could be dealt with systematically once the system itself was understood. So the age of the spectacle wearer was born, one in which a person was able to avoid relegation to the scrap heap simply because of poor vision.
Back to the Swedish proposal. Why are we so keen to discard our spectacles? At Hannaford Eyewear we believe that it is not only possible to reuse your own frame, it is entirely reasonable. We have helped our patients use frames that are family heirlooms, precious reminders of loved ones or even just fun retro finds at the flea market. Of course we want to make sure that they will survive the process so we are able to assess whether the frames will last as well. What we don’t do is send them away for weeks at a time, our work is done in Bowral in a matter of hours.
One of the key skills we hold to at Hannaford Eyewear is the ability to make your spectacles on site. In this way the person who makes your spectacles knows you, knows what you need and is there to be a part of your journey.