STATEPOINT MEDIA – November 15th is America Recycles Day and it’s a good time to take stock of what you are doing to reduce your environmental impact. Every effort counts and it boils down to the smallest recyclable items such as contact lenses.
Did you know that each year 45 million Americans who wear contact lenses throw between 1.8 and 3.36 billion lenses in the toilet or sink? As a result, contact lenses could contribute to the trillions of microplastics in waterways that harm marine life and even enter our food supply. Plus, even contacts that end up in recycling bins are not necessarily recycled. Due to their small size, they can be filtered from ordinary recycling center facilities and end up in landfills.
Understanding the potential impacts this can have on the environment, Bausch + Lomb, the makers of the Infuse and Biotrue ONEday disposable contact lenses have teamed up with TerraCycle, a global leader in recycling hard-to-recycle waste, to develop the first and unique contact lens recycling program available in the United States.
The ONE-by-ONE recycling program not only helps keep contact lens waste out of waterways and landfills, it recycles these materials into useful items that benefit communities. Collected contact lens waste is separated based on composition and melted into plastic pellets that can be combined with other recycled materials to become play sets and park benches.
Launched in 2016, this one-of-a-kind recycling initiative has already collected and recycled nearly 38 million contact lenses, blisters and top sheets and processed approximately 225,000 pounds – the equivalent weight of nine school buses. Most recently, recycled waste from the program was reused to improve the Smithtown, NY campus of the Guide Dog Foundation, a national nonprofit that trains guide dogs for the blind and visually impaired. The recycled contact lens waste was combined with other materials to create benches, tables and waste stations for visitors, as well as an agility ramp and custom training modules used to train the dogs. .
This free recycling program accepts used contact lens materials from Biotrue ONEday, as well as other brands. To participate, simply collect your used contact lenses, along with the blisters and foil they contain, and take them to a participating eye care professional. There are over 6,700 eye care providers enrolled in the program nationwide. To find one near you, visit www.bauschrecycles.com.
While this change may not seem like much, it has the power to improve communities and have a big impact on global recycling efforts, making it a great habit to embrace this America Recycles Day.