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Eyewear brand Ace & Tate stockpiles demo lens waste to create sleek and circular cases

From the moment they're produced to the moment they're fitted with prescription lenses, frames for glasses are held in shape by plastic demo lenses. All those pairs of lenses add up, which is why eyewear retailer Ace & Tate looked for a way to turn them into a new product. The result? A rigid case for glasses and sunglasses.

The Amsterdam-based company, certified as a B Corp in 2021, partnered with Reflow to turn demo lenses into a material that could be injection-molded into a sleek, protective case. The shell is made entirely of recycled demo lenses that were stockpiled for two years; a soft inlay consists of 50% certified recycled wool felt, 30% wool and 20% polyester.

This isn't the first time the retailer worked with Reflow, which transforms waste streams into sustainable 3D printing filament and granulates. Ace & Tate's frame designers print their prototypes with Reflow's filament, and its store designers use Reflow's materials to produce in-store displays, like the colorful characters created for a collab with Carne Bollente in the summer of 2021.

Ace & Tate sells stylish prescription glasses directly to consumers from EUR 110. The new case retails for EUR 15.

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Incorporating circularity into product design and business practices requires a systemic approach and a commitment to sustainability. With Reflow's advice, Ace & Tate found a fitting solution for all those single-use lenses. 

Circularity benefits from working with a clean, homogenous source of material for upcycling or recycling, like Ace & Tate's demo lenses. Which material is your brand discarding that might instead become a marketable consumer product? Could your company invest in research and development to create new technologies that support circularity within your industry?