The tiny contact lens has become an unexpected environmental issue as reports each year show that a large amount of contact lenses are dumped into sewer drainage systems that go directly into the seas causing a negative environmental impact on food chains as this miniature plastic is eaten often accidentally by small marine animals, which are in turn, consumed by humans.
Recent research conducted by One Pool, in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson Vision, indicated that one in five (20%) of contact lens users in the UK (3.7 million) are flushing their contact lenses down the toilet or sink. Furthermore, more than one in three (39%) users are not sure or have no idea that we can recycle contact lenses while two-thirds (70%) of users are not sure that some household devices and equipment can be recycled.
To encourage users to not discard their contact lenses, the UK’s free contact lens recycling program was launched this past January in partnership with Johnson & Johnson Vision with the aim of encouraging contact lens users to recycle their lenses, including blister and foil packaging, in an easy way. All they need to do is drop-off their used contact lenses in marked boxes at over 1,000 sites across the UK in addition to arranging appointments for their waste to be picked-up at their homes free of charge. The waste will then be turned into products such as outdoor furniture or plastic-made panels.
It’s important to not flush contact lenses down the toilet or the sink but to separate them with other recyclable waste. This, in turn, will help mitigate marine pollution.
Source: THE INDEPENDENT. FIRST FREE CONTACT LENS RECYCLING SCHEME LAUNCHED IN THE UK TO TACKLE PLASTIC POLLUTION.
Free contact lens recycling scheme in the UK:
20% of users flush their used contact lenses down the toilet or sink.
39% of consumers are not sure or have no idea that contact lenses can be recycled.
Survey of contact lenses users in the UK initiated by One Poll in November 2018.