Zero Waste: What To Do With Contact Lenses?

My husband is a daily contacts lenses wearer. Each morning, he opens a new pack and throws away a plastic blister pack into the trash. This seemed very wasteful so I did some research and found a few ways to redirect the waste that dailies generate. Here are some options for you.


Option 1

Very recently Bausch & Lomb and Terracycle have partnered together to recycle B&L plastic blister packs, top foil wrapper and contact lenses. All you have to do is collect these items. You can print out a shipping label and Bausch & Lomb will provide a shipping label at NO cost to you to ship these items to Terracycle for recycling.

Read more about the program and how to print out a shipping label.

You can print out posters and other promotional materials here.  This could be good to have in shared spaces like a dormitory bathroom.  Get everyone involved to redirect this waste stream.


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Option 2

Another option is to recycle the plastic blister packs. If you look closely, these packs are plastic #5. I contacted Acuvue (the brand my husband uses) to see if they participated in Terracycle's program and their response to me was to recycle the plastic portion. The plastic portion is a little flimsy and I can't see these going easily into our standard recycling bins without getting blown by the wind. The good news is that Recyclebank accepts plastic #5.  You can do the same thing, collect the plastic blister packs (unfortunately, not the top foil or the actual contact lenses) and drop them off at Gimme 5 locations. Our local Wholefood has a drop-off box. 

You can check out plenty of drop-off locations here. Read more about the program here.

To make collection easier for Option 1 or Option 2, setup a jar or empty box that's clearly labeled in the bathroom. Make sure your partner, dorm mates, room mates know what the collection is for and how it will be processed. If you see this jar or box everyday, it will be hard to forget.

Remember that cardboard boxes and contact lenses solutions containers continue to be accepted by municipal recycling so dispose of these properly.


Option 3

Lastly, consider LASIK if your prescription allows. I know this procedure is expensive and can be daunting and scary, but LASIK has advanced exponentially. I had LASIK eye surgery last year and am now able to see 20/20 after almost being blind and wearing contacts and glasses for over 20 years. It's a life changer to be able to wake up and see clearly. The new year is a good time to start funneling money into your HSA or FSA. By the end of next year, you'll be surprised how much money you have saved.


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