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According to the latest numbers from press agency Reuters, around 1 million PET bottles are being sold worldwide every single minute! If these bottles were all recycled, that would be awesome… but alas that’s not the case. Our purpose is to create a circular economy where waste will no longer be wasted. One of the solutions to the waste problem is to make sure it has a commercial value. When there is value, a value-chain can be created. And when there is a value-chain, there can be an economic benefit for all stakeholders, even for the consumer or customer.
So, back to the case of PET, our raw material: 1 million plastic bottles per minute might not ring a bell for you. After all, there are 7,7 billion people living on this planet. Let us put things in a better perspective. Press agency Reuters made a very accurate visualization of 1 million bottles.
Now, if we continue the sale of around 1 million bottles per minute, we end up with 54.9 million bottles in one hour. If we would pile all of these bottles up, it would create a mountain of bottles rising higher than the famous Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro.
If we then look at how much of such containers are being sold annually, we get to a figure of 481.6 billion bottles. That’s 62 bottles per human being alive. If we again imagine all of those bottles piled up, the gigantic heap would reach higher than the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, which measures 830 meters.
Now that we’ve put the scale of global PET bottle consumption in perspective, it’s time to look at the waste problem that comes with it. Because out of all those bottles, only 6% has been recycled at least once, while most of them end up in landfills, waste-incinerators or worst of all : polluting our environment and our oceans.
We at Yuma Labs have made a pledge to work against the stream, and against the linear, disposable economy. By creating disruptive business models, we want to demonstrate that there are ways to build a new economy, without the need for planned obsolescence or continuous depletion of our natural resources. We wish to put a halt to fast-consumption (FMCG’s) and slow down the “produce-buy-dispose” mill.
We firmly believe in extended producer responsibility (EPR) and we don’t like to simply point the finger of guilt at our customers to “recycle better”. The materials we use to produce our products – and therefore the products we put onto the market - are and remain our responsibility and we take full ownership by reclaiming it all for re-use, or for further recycling.
“We financially reward our customers for helping us achieve exactly that and maximize the return.”—
That’s where the so-called deposit-return system or DRS comes in. One of our key objectives is to create consumer-awareness through participation. We intend to achieve this by deposit-return systems (DRS) or a redemption fee. We financially reward our customers for helping us achieve exactly that, and maximize the return of “our” materials and products.
How do we make this possible? Well, within every purchase, a small monetary amount is included in the price which will be returned to the customer once we have received his or her sunglasses back. The customer can use this reimbursement for a new purchase at Yuma Labs.
This “value” that remains attached to our sunglasses, should dissuade a customer to just throw the item(s) away, and make him or her reconsider what to do with it, and hopefully choose to return the sunglasses to us.
Of course, when we encourage you to participate in the return-deposit system, we want to make things as easy as possible for you. That’s why all purchased items can be shipped back free of charge within Europe, and at a very small cost elsewhere around the world, thanks to our specially-developed “send-back box” that is included with your purchase.
Needless to say, we think such a return-deposit system should be standard practice on all consumer items, which have the potential to be recycled at the end of their life or use.
“We start the lifecycle of our sunglasses from waste PET but also want to ensure the cycle never ends.”—
The predominant raw material for our sunglasses is recycled post-consumer PET (rPET), coming from disposable beverage bottles collected domestically. PET is a very versatile thermoplastic that has quite impressive recycling properties and can be used to produce more than just beverage bottles, by a technique called injection molding. Injection molding is also our primary production technique for our sunglasses.
We start the lifecycle of our sunglasses from waste PET, but we also want to ensure this new lifecycle never ends. That’s why we make sure our complete manufacturing process, including the recurring recycling loops, is designed to end up again with 100% pure and un-contaminated rPET. When we reach the limit on the amount of recycling loops, this material can go straight back into the larger industrial PET recycling stream, where it will enjoy further use as and different product or application.
Through batch control, rigorous production follow-up and part traceability, we manage and monitor all of our raw materials. While giving the recycled PET a momentary new life as a fashionable and sustainable product, we let it reach a maximum number of recycling loops until it can go back into a larger recycling stream. Thus, contributing to a circular economy where waste will no longer be wasted.