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Dresden — A vision for greener glasses, credit: Dresden

Frustrated by the fragility, wastefulness and high cost of traditional prescription glasses, Dresden Vision co-founder Bruce Jeffreys set about reinventing how prescription glasses are made.

Traditional manufacturing processes and supply chains didn’t support Dresden’s goal to create affordable, high-quality frames from sustainable materials, so they started from scratch. Supported by a Cooperative Research Centre Projects (CRC-P) grant, Dresden worked with a range of industry partners and the University of New South Wales Sustainable Materials Research & Technology (SMaRT) program to develop a unique injection system that can produce high-quality frames using recycled and recyclable plastics more cheaply than using virgin plastics.

Now the only mass producer of prescription eyewear in Australia, Dresden’s closed-loop system transforms shampoo bottles, discarded fishing nets and even plastic banknotes into high-quality eyewear. Their products are being retailed in Australia, New Zealand and Canada, competing with the world’s major brands on quality and price.

“As an Australian manufacturer, we think sustainability is a critical competitive edge. The current product is so wasteful; for us, sustainability is a core part of how an Australian manufacturer differentiates themselves in a busy global market. Projects like ours are a great example of combining traditional skills with new digital skills to reinvent a product.” says Bruce Jeffreys, Co-founder of Dresden Vision.