Free UK contact lens recycling scheme launched in local opticians

Date published: 17 January 2019

A free scheme to recycle plastic contact lenses – worn by 3.7 million UK residents –  is being rolled out in opticians across the UK this week, including Boots Opticians in Rochdale and Middleton.

The nationwide programme is a collaboration between medical manufacturer Johnson & Johnson Vision and recycling firm TerraCycle, to recycle any brand of soft contact lenses plus their blister and foil packaging.

Consumers will have the option of either having their contact lens material collected, or simply dropping it off through a network of recycling bins at public drop-off locations throughout Boots Opticians and a number of independent stores across the UK.

Contact lens wearers are encouraged to check the Acuvue and TerraCycle websites for details on their nearest public drop-off location points or to recycle from home via courier collection.

According to recent research by Johnson & Johnson Vision, 39% of contact lens wearers aren’t sure if they can recycle lenses with 20% of wearers admitting they dispose of their lenses by flushing them down the toilet or sink.

The programme aims to reduce plastic waste in landfills and waterways by providing a simple and practical alternative, turning the recycled contacts and packaging into new products such as outdoor furniture and plastic lumber.

Sandra Rasche, area vice president of Johnson & Johnson Medical, said: “77% of British contact lens wearers said they would recycle their contact lenses if they could and we share their interest in reducing the amount of plastics in the environment.

“As a business, we are committed to doing our part to combat climate change, protect our planet’s natural resources and reduce waste, and this new UK recycling programme represents the next step in our company’s sustainability commitment.”

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