JJV reports that over half of contact lens wearers are not aware their lenses are recyclable

The contact lens manufacturer hopes to increase the volume of contact lenses going into its recycling programme in the UK by up to 25%

jjv recycling

Over half (58%) of contact lens wearers are unaware that they can recycle their lenses, according to new data released by Johnson & Johnson Vision.

Reporting its findings this week, the contact lens manufacturer confirmed the expansion of its Acuvue contact lens recycling programme, which was established in 2019.

The survey, performed in March and completed by 2000 contact lens wearers, found that most wearers are disposing of their contacts through non-sustainable means, with 57% throwing lenses in the waste bin, and one in five (20%) flushing them down the toilet or sink.

Only 39% of those surveyed said they were recycling their contact lenses.

In a bid to raise awareness of its contact lens recycling programme, which was the first nationwide contact lens recycling scheme when it was introduced three years ago, JJV is making a series of changes designed to make the scheme more accessible.

These changes include partnering with TerraCycle to utilise zero waste boxes, in which lenses, original foil covers and blister packaging can be recycled. JJV confirmed that the zero waste boxes will be distributed to partnering optical practices, and it will fund 3500 boxes this year – enough to recycle 5.6 million contact lenses, blister packs and cover foils.

The changes are being made in order to “facilitate greater engagement in the programme and increase the volume of contact lenses going into recycling systems across the UK by up to 25%,” JJV shared.

Already available across Boots Opticians and a number of independent practices, the scheme has resulted in the recycling of over 8.5 million pairs of contact lenses, blister packs and foil covers to date.

JJV managing director for Northern Europe and general manager for the UK & Ireland, Jakob Sveen, said: “At Johnson & Johnson Vision, we’re passionate about sustainability and minimising our impact on the planet. The results of this latest survey reveal lens wearers don’t realise they can dispose of contacts sustainably but would be keen to do so if they knew how.

“We want to help patients realise they can enjoy wearing contact lenses whilst being sustainable, ensuring plastic isn’t making its way into our oceans or landfill. We are determined to continue tackling key issues that affect us all, from recycling and reducing our carbon footprint, to optimizing our packaging.”