Recycle Your Contact Lenses, Do not Flush Them

Recycle Your Contact Lenses, Do not Flush Them


Once you consider plastic air pollution, you in all probability think about discarded straws. And water bottles. And luggage. Some of us are additionally specializing in one thing smaller — itty-bitty objects hundreds of thousands of us use daily. Contact lenses, when improperly discarded, create contaminating microplastics.

To assist stop microplastic air pollution, accountable disposal is essential. A free program is in place that will help you recycle your used contacts.

Don’t Flush Used Contacts

That’s the recommendation from a trio of scientists at Arizona State College. They teamed as much as examine the results of contact lenses which might be washed down the drain or flushed down the bathroom.

The examine revealed that:

  • 15-20% of contact lens wearers eliminate the lenses down the sink or rest room.
  • With an estimated 45 million folks in america sporting contacts, about 1.8 billion to three.36 billion lenses are flushed per 12 months.
  • At wastewater crops, contacts are seemingly too small to be filtered out and eliminated.

“The examine confirmed that wastewater crops fragment them into microplastics, which accumulate in sewage sludge. For about each two kilos of wastewater sludge, a pair of contact lenses usually may be discovered,” in keeping with an article concerning the mission on Arizona State College’s web site. As a result of sewage sludge is usually deposited on the land for soil conditioning, these microplastics have a brief pathway to pollute our ecosystems.

Tossing used lenses in common trash is preferable to flushing, explains Charles Rolsky, a Ph.D. candidate who labored on the analysis mission. However it’s even higher to recycle them.

ONE by ONE contact lens recycling collection box
Collaborating optical places of work provide recycling bins for used contact lenses. Photograph: Bausch & Lomb

ONE by ONE Recycling Program

Bausch & Lomb, which sells contact lenses, partnered with TerraCycle, which recycles hard-to-recycle objects, to launch the free Bausch + Lomb ONE by ONE Recycling Program. The recycling initiative accepts used lenses from any model. It additionally accepts empty blister packs and foils, which most curbside recycling applications are usually not outfitted to course of.

Because it was established in 2016, ONE by ONE has collected greater than 41 million models of used contact lenses, high foils, and blister packs to recycle.

“As soon as collected, the contact lenses and blister packs are cleaned and separated by materials sort,” says TerraCycle. “The supplies are recycled into uncooked codecs that producers use to make new merchandise.”

Contact Lens Recycling Data

You’ll be able to drop off your used lenses, blister packs, and high foils at collaborating optical places of work. Use TerraCycle’s interactive map to seek for areas close to you. For essentially the most energy-efficient method, drop off these things once you see your imaginative and prescient skilled or at a collaborating eye care workplace in your space. In case your imaginative and prescient skilled isn’t a drop-off level but, counsel that they enroll on TerraCycle.

To cut back packaging and delivery waste, this program is out there via drop-off solely. Drop-offs are “extra environmentally pleasant total because it saves packaging,” in keeping with a Bausch & Lomb consultant. When dropping off your contact lenses and blister packs, don’t embody paperboard or cardboard packaging. You’ll be able to often embody these supplies together with your different clear family paper recycling.

These hyperlinks will enable you to get began:

Initially revealed on January 16, 2020, this text was up to date in June 2023.


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