Since around 1950, optic lenses are called “organic lenses” as they are, for the most, not made of glass anymore but of polymer which makes it impossible to recycle. Bad news. Especially because lenses is one of the only byproduct of our vintage glasses renewing process. For over a year we kept reminding the opticians we work with to keep those lenses and give it back to us. They kept pointing out that this material was not recyclable. “We know” we told them “but we will figure something out”. We wanted to find a way for it to be valuable, to be reused. And we are born stubborn.
So during that year, vintage lenses of all shapes and colors continued to stack next to each other in a box, unsure of their future. The only thing we were sure of is that it will not end up being trashed. Our minds were boiling and ideas vanished. Could we use the lenses’ transparency to make lamps? Create moving statues? Until one of us came across a necklace in a store in Madrid that suspiciously had the shape of a glasses’ lenses. Without hesitation she took the business card of “Debloom” and contacted them. Under this poetic name are two radiant women and the solution to the lenses case.
For Olga and Yure from Debloom, the upcycling adventure started a few years ago when they came across old lenses found in the house as Olga’s dad had worked in a eyewear manufacturer in Madrid.They decided to give it a second life and after a few trials designed beautiful necklaces and brooches. From then on, they explore how to reuse more remaining materials to transform it into jewelry. They do so with old Spanish coins, the Pesetas, that can now be worn as earrings or rings. Nowadays, in their studio-workshop they rethink used objects but also create slow fashion accessories such as unique scarves and bags with a never ending creativity and will of doing things better.
Now, removing lenses from old reading glasses is part of the excitement of a new creation. “Ready for new adventures lenses?” Thanks to the inventive work of Debloom, a byproduct hard to recycle is now upcycled. And we are even more determined in reducing waste.
Remember that recycling should be the last option, if even possible. Before that, challenge your or others’ creativity - can it be reused? Upcycled? Downcycled? Donated?
The end message of this circular story is to think out of the frame and especially out of the bin : your waste can be the nutriment for somebody’s else creativity.