BUSINESS Eastman’s Molecular Recycling Amps Up the Possibilities in Sustainable Eyewear By Staff Sunday, May 14, 2023 12:59 AM RELATED CONTENT Sustainability Takes Root Contact Lens Companies Strive to Reach Sustainability Goals Eyewear Companies Adopt Green Strategies in Production, Packaging and Everything in Between Lens Manufacturers and Labs Take Action to Lower Carbon Footprint NEW YORK—A steady progression of eyewear, sunwear and retail groups in the U.S. and around the world have been stepping up their development partnerships in the sustainability arena with the help of Eastman (NYSE:EMN) one of the world’s largest plastics producers. Eastman’s multi-year effort to create a more sustainable, circular approach to the system of recycling plastics into sustainable partnerships aimed at limiting the environmental impact of acetate frames and other injected plastic materials has involved using what the company calls “eco-responsible” formulas of recycled content and bio-sourced materials. Today the number of partnerships involving Eastman’s Acetate Renew, Tenite Renew and Tritan Renew are advancing quickly, with eyewear companies bringing new options into their production and supply chains. Eastman’s own eyewear options (many details are posted here at Eastman/eyewear are the result of the Kingsport, Tenn.-based company’s own multimillion dollar investments in creating a circular recycling approach that is adaptable to long-term eyewear producers’ own production, engineering and design needs. Advanced Circular Recycling technologies process waste plastics that traditional mechanical recycling methods cannot. Rachel Oakley, Eastman’s eyewear segment marketing manager, told VM, “It’s so exciting now as we see the traction build among all sorts of players in the eyewear category. We have three priority areas this year. First, advancing the continued adoption of Acetate Renew to help support it particularly in the premium sector of the market and to help our partners help their clients, ECPs and optical retailers, communicate and educate about this to consumers. “The second is to focus on Tritan options in the sunwear category and the mainstream of the market. Third, we want to tackle lenses, so that we’re not just stopping with the frame.” Oakley added, “As things develop around the world, the success of sustainability is directly related to how transparent and clear the standards and communication can be so that ‘greenwashing’ is minimized. Standards teams in Europe, and soon, in America and other parts of the world, will be coming to the forefront to help educate more people about what’s really qualified and vetted. We participate with ISCC Certification because that is a pass-through certification so that all steps of a process are examined and can be validated,” Oakley said.