According to the American Chemical Society, 20 percent of contact lenses wearers dispose of old lenses by flushing them down the toilet or sink. However, contact lenses don’t biodegrade easily. Additionally, their size and flexibility mean that contact lenses are not caught by filters meant to keep nonbiological waste out of wastewater treatment plants. This means that flushed contact lenses are able to make their way into our surface water and cause environmental damage. If 45 million Americans who wear contact lenses don’t dispose of them properly, the waste amounts to 22 metric tons. So how can we protect our environment and dispose of contact lenses correctly? You Can’t Just Recycle
Properly disposing of contact lenses isn’t as easy as it sounds. Here’s what you need to know:
Throwing used lenses in the garbage keeps plastic out of our water system, but, unfortunately, it simply sends that plastic to a landfill instead.
Even if you place your contact lenses in standard recycling bins, they will be filtered out due to their small size.
In order to be properly recycled, contact lenses need to be processed at a specialty recycling facility.
Waste associated with contact lenses, such as top foil and opened plastic blister packs, can also be recycled So what’s the solution? How can the environmentally conscious contact wearer dispose of lenses properly?
The ONE by ONE Recycling Program
Very recently Bausch + Lomb and TerraCycle® have partnered together to recycle plastic blister packs, top foil wrapper, and contact lenses. Here’s how the program works:
Collect: Place your used blister packs, used contact lenses, and top foil into a small cardboard box after use or after your old contact lenses have expired.
Print: After filling your box, print a free shipping label from Bausch & Lomb, seal the box, and attach the printed label.
Ship: Ship the box from your home or at any UPS location to the TerraCycle® center where it will be recycled properly
Once received, your contact lens waste is separated and cleaned. The contact lenses and plastic blister pack components are melted into plastic, remolded, and remade into recycled products. Metal layers of the blister packs are recycled separately. Why Recycle Contact Lens Waste
Participating in the ONE by ONE Recycling Program reduces the amount of waste deposited to landfills across the country. This includes:
Over 25,000 pounds of recycled lens waste
4 million recycled lens items
Over 100,000 pieces of contact lens waste diverted from landfills since July 2017
As a thank you for your dedication, Bausch + Lomb will make a $1 donation to Optometry Giving Sight for every 2 pounds of accepted packaging sent through this program. That means that not only are you reducing your carbon footprint, but you’re helping bring vision care to those in need!
Eden Prairie Eye Care Believes in Social Responsibility
As an eco-friendly organization, the staff at Eden Prairie Eye Care believe in the power of social responsibility. Dr. Oker knows that, for years, contact lens wearers have struggled to find ways in which to dispose of the lenses ethically without resorting to sending them to landfill. The ONE by ONE Recycling Program is an easy way to help protect our environment. Eden Prairie Eye Care invites all contact lens wearers to participate in this amazing program. Everyone is welcome to drop off their contact lens waste at our office at the Eden Prairie Center Mall – you don’t have to be one of our patients. More questions? Want to schedule an appointment? Contact us today at (952) 944-2792!