Recycle Your Contact Lenses, Don’t Flush Them

Recycle Your Contact Lenses, Don’t Flush Them

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This page may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that I have recommended. There is no additional cost to you whatsoever.

When you consider plastic air pollution, you in all probability think about discarded straws. And water bottles. And baggage. Some people are additionally specializing in one thing smaller — itty-bitty gadgets thousands and thousands of us use every single day. 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 can assist you recycle your used contacts.

Don’t Flush Used Contacts

That’s the recommendation from a trio of scientists at Arizona State University. They teamed as much as study the consequences of contact lenses which are 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 bathroom.
  • With an estimated 45 million individuals within the United States sporting contacts, about 1.8 billion to three.36 billion lenses are flushed per 12 months.
  • At wastewater vegetation, contacts are possible too small to be filtered out and eliminated.

“The examine confirmed that wastewater vegetation fragment them into microplastics, which accumulate in sewage sludge. For about each two kilos of wastewater sludge, a pair of contact lenses usually could be discovered,” in accordance with an article in regards to the mission on Arizona State University’s web site. Because sewage sludge is commonly 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. But it’s even higher to recycle them.

ONE by ONE contact lens recycling collection box
Participating optical workplaces provide recycling bins for used contact lenses. Photo: Bausch & Lomb

ONE by ONE Recycling Program

Bausch & Lomb, which sells contact lenses, partnered with TerraCycle, which recycles hard-to-recycle gadgets, 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 packages will not be geared up to course of.

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

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

Contact Lens Recycling Information

You can drop off your used lenses, blister packs, and prime foils at taking part optical workplaces. Use TerraCycle’s interactive map to seek for places 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 taking part eye care workplace in your space. If your imaginative and prescient skilled isn’t a drop-off level but, counsel that they sign up on TerraCycle.

To scale back packaging and transport waste, this program is offered by means of drop-off solely. Drop-offs are “extra environmentally pleasant general because it saves packaging,” in accordance with a Bausch & Lomb consultant. When dropping off your contact lenses and blister packs, don’t embrace paperboard or cardboard packaging. You can often embrace these supplies together with your different clear family paper recycling.

These hyperlinks will assist you to get began:

Originally printed on January 16, 2020, this text was up to date in June 2023.

You Might Also Like…