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Safilo introducing two new sustainable materials from 2022

Safilo has announced it will begin incorporating two new sustainable materials containing recycled content into its eyewear collections, beginning with its proprietary brand Polaroid.

The Italian eyewear giant revealed this month it will start using two materials by global advanced materials manufacturer Eastman – headquartered in the US – in its latest move to introduce more recycled products into its frames.

Eastman’s Acetate Renew and Tritan Renew materials form part of a broad portfolio of sustainable resins the company produces. Safilo will first use Eastman Tritan Renew in its Polaroid line in January 2022. The two materials will then be progressively rolled out across its broad portfolio of optical frames and sunglasses, which comprises numerous licenced and proprietary brands.

Safilo Group CEO Mr Angelo Trocchia said the announcement asserted the company’s business commitment to sustainability and efforts to bring more recycled materials to the eyewear industry.

“It is so important nowadays to act responsibly and to consider the social and environmental impacts of our business,” he said.

“We are committed to leading the way in our approach to our products and packaging without using new resources and without compromising the quality of our frames, thereby continuing to offer the same level of impeccable quality. Our intention is to expand the use of sustainable materials as much as possible in order to progress in our sustainability journey.”

Mr Glenn Goldman, commercial director of Eastman Specialty Plastics, said using the sustainable materials, Safilo could provide consumers and licensors with a variety of differentiated options that meet standards for both design and sustainability.

“We are proud to work with Safilo as they make these bold steps and deliver on their commitment to a more sustainable future,” he said.

The new materials explained

Eastman’s Tritan Renew material is said to be a high performance copolyester made of 50% certified recycled content. The company states it is crystal clear, durable and Bisphenol-A (BPA)-free. Safilo will be the first eyewear company to introduce the renewable material.

According to Eastman, its Acetate Renew product is composed of 60% bio-based and 40% certified recycled content. It claims the resulting material is identical in performance to traditional acetate, meaning it can give the same premium “look and feel” to eyewear that wearers expect from traditional acetate.

The company states both materials are produced via its advanced circular recycling technologies – carbon renewal technology (CRT) and polyester renewal technology (PRT) – and are made from waste plastic, reducing consumption of fossil resources. They also have significantly lower greenhouse gas footprints than traditional eyewear materials.

The recycled content within the materials is produced using a mass balance process certified by International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC).

The Eastman deal follows an announcement in 2020 when Safilo introduced Econyl regenerated nylon in its eyewear collections, starting with the Tommy Jeans line. This was off the back of a partnership with Aquafil, a well-known global company that produces polymers and synthetic fibres.

Also last year, Safilo developed the first eyewear style made with ocean waste plastic for The Ocean Cleanup, the Dutch non-profit environmental organisation, with injected plastic derived from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Safilo has also previously launched a Polaroid Sustainable Collection.

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