Lions Recycle for Sight Australia, the national arm of a global recycling initiative operated by Lions Clubs International, is expanding its operation with the establishment of a fourth Australian recycling plant in November this year.
In the initiative’s 22 years of operation, seven million adults and children in developing countries have benefited from the program. Last financial year, it collected 650,000 pairs of used spectacles, and between January and June 2020, Lions Recycle for Sight Australia was responsible for distributing 100,000 refurbished pairs of spectacles in nine locations in India, Africa, East Timor, Sri Lanka and in the Northern Territory, Australia.
Working in collaboration with more than 1,000 optometrists, Lions Clubs and community organisations across Australia, the initiative organises the mass collection of spectacles, their refurbishment and subsequent distribution.
Once received, the spectacles are checked for suitability and separated into three categories: readers; prescriptions; and sunglasses. From there they are washed and graded before being packed into boxes of 200 and exported through humanitarian groups. All spectacles that make their way through the initiative are recycled and passed on, free of charge, to someone in need.
New Eye Company (NEC) provides Lions Recycle for Sight with technical support to ensure the quality of the frames and lenses being sent. Andreas Mehringer, Managing Director of NEC, says testing for quality is paramount as “sending substandard glasses would be a waste of time.
“The places and countries we send these recycled glasses to are remote. People requiring glasses sometimes have to walk for days to get to where the glasses are. The difference these glasses make to their lives is amazing – being able to read, see the things they haven’t been able to see, do the things that they haven’t been able to do,” said Mr Mehringer.
Lions Recycle for Sight currently operates out of three Queensland based locations, primarily funded by small returns made from local broken spectacles to metal recyclers. In November, a new complex will double the organisation’s capacity, enabling the initiative to save two million pairs of spectacles and provide approximately 1.9 million people with much needed eyewear.
Visit: lionsclubs.org.au/activities/health/ vision-hearing/recycle-for-sight.