Sónia Lopes 2023.
It was through an article published in a Specialized and Professional Information Magazine for the Optics Sector that I became aware of AASO and I did not hesitate to sign up as an associate, as I believe that we need to create paths towards ever greater sustainability in the Optics sector.
The importance of creating a more sustainable world is directly related to the quality of the world we want for future generations. It is urgent to create conditions for an economy and lifestyles that are increasingly responsible in the use of the planet's natural resources, if we want this to be the true inheritance to be left to our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
In our daily lives, the words “sustainable” and “sustainability” are being used more and more, but are they really being put into practice?
It is true that many measures have already been taken in this direction but they are not at all sufficient to reverse the situation, not least because eliminating the use of plastic in certain products but starting to use, in an excessive way, paper and cardboard seems to me a little counter-productive.
It is necessary to Reduce Excessive Consumption. However, these are words that together present not only the solution but the greatest impediment to an unequivocal and global implementation of more assertive measures with regard to compliance with the Sustainable Development Goals. In a society where we are constantly stimulated towards consumerism, it is necessary to find a balance, it is necessary to create a sustainable world to preserve the health of our planet but which, at the same time, sustains our economy… It is not easy, much less quick to achieve!
The pollution of the planet, as well as its consequences today and tomorrow, is not just the responsibility of the optics sector but it is still accountable… and the solution to the problem does not depend only on the professionals in this sector, but it is also dependable...
That is why our active contribution in Associations such as AASO, in the development and implementation of a “circular economy”, is so important. Promoting “optics market waste collection corridors” is within our reach and must be put into practice quickly and conscientiously.
Large and important steps have already been taken towards greater sustainability in the optical industry, but it is necessary to continue to seek solutions to reduce the use of polluting materials in manufacturing and to reduce the excessive use of plastics / cardboard in the distribution of products to our optics.
Options for reusing advertising displays can also be designed, as well as increasingly longer expiry dates for the use of posters/advertising images, not least because our society is increasingly digital. It no longer makes sense to depend on paper catalogs, just as it makes no sense to constantly change posters or advertising displays, which, when multiplied by all optics in the country, represent a huge waste of paper/cardboard/etc. Optics must increasingly invest in technological/digital means, online platforms and social networks to promote their products.
Promotion of a common image of the sector to inform and raise awareness among our customers about actions to collect used ophthalmic frames and lenses for donation, through a Common Association responsible for treating and forwarding these donations in a serious and honest way. These donations must also be publicized on the association's social networks so that the customer who donated can see and feel the positive impact of their action.
It is important to continue to remind contact lens and cleaning solution users how and where to dispose of their used contact lenses, plastic blister packs, solution bottles and cartons.
We can also promote the reuse of bottles of cleaning liquids for ophthalmic lenses and provide a refueling station at our opticians for this purpose. We reduce the cost for the customer, the optics and the environment.
Betting on sending invoices to the end customer by email is a measure that has already been adopted by many and should be encouraged by all.
Try to minimize water consumption and/or its pollution, opting for closed circuits in the equipment used in our workshops, ensuring their safety.
It is a long but accessible road and, before it is imposed, it is possible to be properly designed in an economically viable way through the union of efforts and the development of more ideas that will certainly culminate in actions that will make everyone proud.
This is my motivation and hope for the future of AASO.