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An eye on recycling

OT  hears how one eye health company has tackled the environmental challenges of daily disposable contact lenses

13 Nov 2017 by Selina Powell

More than 790,000 contact lenses, top foil and blister packs have been diverted from landfill through a scheme that encourages people to collect and post their daily disposable contact lenses for recycling.

Bausch + Lomb US launched it One by One initiative in partnership with recycling company TerraCycle in November last year.

Since then, more than 2100 kilograms of contact lenses and blister packs have been recycled in the US.

A Bausch + Lomb US spokesperson confirmed that the programme is being rolled out in Australia, and several other countries are being considered for expansion of the scheme.

Daily disposable contact lenses are often filtered out of mainstream recycling because of their size and packaging.

The One by One partnership addresses this conundrum by encouraging consumers to use a free, specialised recycling service.

Contact lens wearers are encouraged to collect their used daily disposable contact lenses, top foil and blister packs in a small cardboard box.

When the box is full, they  are encouraged to send the box to TerraCycle by printing a free shipping label that is available online.

Once received, the contact lenses and blister packs are separated and cleaned. The metal layers of the blister packs are recycled separately, while the contact lenses and plastic blister pack components are melted into plastic that can be re-molded to make recycled products.

TerraCycle specialises in repurposing hard-to-recycle products. Other items that the company has managed to recycle include chip bags, coffee capsules and cigarette butts. 

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