Johnson & Johnson Vision (JJV) has launched a free nationwide recycling programme for all contact lenses in Boots Opticians and selected independent practices.
The Acuvue Contact Lens Recycle Programme enables consumers to recycle their contact lenses, as well as the blister and foil packaging after use, regardless of which brand they use.
Area vice president at JJV Medical for Europe, Middle East and Africa, Sandra Rasche, said: “As a business, we are committed to doing our part to combat climate change, protect our planet’s natural resources and reduce waste. This new UK recycling programme represents the next step in our company’s sustainability commitment.”
JJV’s partnership with Boots Opticians and selected independent practices aims to provide over 1000 drop-off locations across the UK.
The launch of the scheme follows research by JJV, which found that 70% of consumers are confused about what household waste can be recycled.
Consumers will be able to have their contact lens material collected or they can drop it off through a network of recycling bins at public drop-off locations at optical practices.
It also found that 39% of contact lens wearers are not sure or believe that they can recycle their contact lenses.
JJV explained that, until the launch of its initiative, recycling contact lenses has been challenging for consumers.
“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,” Ms Rasche highlighted.
The survey was conducted by One Poll with 1000 contact lenses wearers in the UK in November.
JJV explained that the programme aims to reduce plastic waste in landfills and waterways by providing a simple and practical alternative to the UK’s 3.7m contact lens wearers.
The company added that 20% of contact lens wearers said that they currently dispose of their lenses by flushing them down the toilet or the sink.
To recycle the contact lenses, JJV has collaborated with TerraCycle, a company that specialises in the collection and reuse of non-recyclable post-consumer waste.
The recycled contact lenses, blister and foil packs will be turned into new products, such as outdoor furniture and plastic lumber.