Last week we took some of our ODA Members to the Lions Recycle for Sight Australian Headquarters in Queensland to volunteer and learn more about what happens to all the specs that get donated in our practices. What a fantastic organisation they run! We met some amazingly selfless people and learnt a whole lot more than we anticipated.
The organisation is run by volunteers but also provides work and a purpose to inmates in local correctional facilities and individuals that are supported by government financial assistance. The number of donations they receive is incomprehendable, with every single pair cleaned, inspected, verted, sorted, labelled and distributed. Of the specs that can't be used, the metal is salvaged and scrapped with the funds earned put straight back into the centre. Unfortunately, any plastic frames and lenses that can't be recycled are all disposed of. Unbeknown to ourselves and most likely, many other Dispensers and Optometrists, the program can only actually make use of sphere powered, single vision lenses with no more than an 0.25 dioptre difference between the two eyes and mounted in an undamaged frame. This means that cyl powered lenses, multi-focals,
progressives, sunglasses and any pair that has a damaged frame or scratched lens is discarded.
The scout hall that has been leased to the Lions Club of Redcliffe Kippa-Ring and is now the main headquarters for the Lions Recycle for Sight program fortunately has ample space, with many of the spare rooms full from floor to ceiling with boxes full of donated specs ready and waiting for processing. Like many organisations, Covid played a large part in slowing things up with volunteer numbers drastically reduced over the past two years whilst the donations kept on coming. There is an overwhelming amount of work to be done to catch up but the team don't let it phase them and head in at 6.30am everyday to plough through it.
If you are interested in volunteering either as a one off or on an ongoing basis (like some of our members have now chosen to do), you can get in contact with ODA and we will be more than happy to connect you.
The next step for us now, is to help educate Optometrists and Optical Dispensers on what can and can NOT be donated. The message to take home is don't stop donating, just be more more mindful of what you are sending. Every pair of glasses is cleaned and inspected regardless, so the less waste being received the better.
Here are a few key tips to share with your colleagues:
They can only redistribute sphere powered, single vision lenses. Unfortunately, there is no use for cyls, multi-focals and progressives.
Frames must be in good working order with all parts, damaged frames are of no use.
The specs must be a complete pair ready to wear, lenses only or frames only will be disposed of.
Lenses must be free from scratches.
Keep the cases or donate them to your local op shop as they are too large to ship internationally and can't be distributed.
You can send in unopened, in-date contact lenses too.
If you don't have a local Lions Club representative that collects from you, you can ship the donations yourself FREE of charge:
Reply Paid 3021
Lions Recycle for Sight
PO Box 3021
CLONTARF MDC 4019
We will be back again next year but until then, if you have any questions, please reach out email@example.com