- Title: Another look at waste with Belgian recycled plastic sunglasses
- Date: 6th September 2017
- Summary: SUNGLASSES DESIGN SEEN ON LAPTOP SCREEN
- Embargoed: 20th September 2017 17:00
- Keywords: 3D printing sunglasses recycled plastic sustainability
- Location: ANTWERP AND BRUSSELS, BELGIUM / DOUALA, CAMEROON
- City: ANTWERP AND BRUSSELS, BELGIUM / DOUALA, CAMEROON
- Country: Belgium
- Topics: Environment,Human Interest / Brights / Odd News
- Reuters ID: LVA0026XGKUO7
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: From a soda bottle to a pair of trendy sunglasses, a Belgian start-up aims at giving a new life to plastic waste and change the way people look at sustainability.
Ensuring old car dashboards, refrigerators, and plastic bottles alike get a new life, the Antwerp-based company w.r.yuma, which launched its first designs for sale on Wednesday (September 6), says it is the first to use 3D printing technology to turn old plastic into sunglasses.
Founder Sebastiaan de Neubourg wishes to go further however, seeking to create a new "circular economy", by encouraging customers to bring their old sunglasses back to them in exchange for a discount on their new purchase. Otherwise, De Neubourg said, recycling only delays waste, and fails to stop it.
The plastic used comes from Rotterdam in the neighbouring Netherlands, and Belgium's Flemish region, and is turned into wire, which is fed into the 3D printer, where it is melted to the right temperature at the point of application, building the design up in layers.
Eight pairs of sunglasses can be made by a single 3D printer at a time. The glasses, with plastic UV-blocking lenses, are then assembled and screwed together by hand, and are currently made in six versions, with black, white and more masculine and feminine-oriented designs available.
Prices range from 74 euros (88 US dollars) for a pair of classic black shades to 850 euros (1,015 US dollars) for those who would like to customise their own.
The company - which name is pronounced "We are Yuma", referring to the American town of Yuma that is said to be the sunniest place in the world - says about 300 billion kilos of plastic are produced each year, with the equivalent of a truck load ending up in the oceans every minute.
De Neubourg hopes to produce new sunglasses on site next year at summer festivals such as Tomorrowland, which takes place not far from Antwerp, transforming discarded plastic cups to bring the recycling process closer to home.
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