Several of us within The White T-shirt Co wear contact lenses, which obviously contradicts our zero plastic ambitions.
So great News! The UK’s first free national recycling scheme for plastic contact lenses has been launched this week. So in case you missed it here's what it means.
Lenses and their packaging are notoriously difficult to deal with. It is thought that contact lenses are worn by an estimated 3.7 million people and now wearers of any brand of soft lens have the option of either having their discarded items and packaging collected or dropping them off at a network of recycling bins at Boots Opticians and selected independent stores.
20% of wearers admit to disposing of their lenses by flushing them down the toilet and so this new scheme aims to reduce plastic waste in landfill and the oceans by providing a simple and practical alternative. The recycled contact lenses, blister and foil packaging will be turned into products such as outdoor furniture.
The scheme is a collaboration between lens provider Johnson & Johnson and the recycling firm TerraCycle. Check here to find your nearest public drop-off location points or courier collection. We were thrilled to find out that our own Optometrists, Querido & Davidson in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne are also supporters of the new scheme. And you don’t need to be a patient of theirs to bring your recycled items in, they can be any brand at all.
Our founder Penny said, “I have worn contact lenses since I was sixteen, visualise the mountain of disposed of packaging that will have created. I wear lenses less now as I also wear glasses, but never the less their disposal has remained a dilemma. So much plastic for such little things.”
“As a company and at home we’ve hugely minimised our general plastic use, but with something like lenses the plastic and foil packaging provides sterile protection. I’m sadly too vain to do without them completely, so when my opticians Querido & Davidson introduced this service it was a conscience reliever. Obviously, no plastic would be better but until the Optometry manufacturers are able to crack this, a proper disposal service is a great stepping stone.”
Other resources we have found useful for re-cycling medicine-related packing is The Complete The Cycle scheme for old Inhalers. Unfortunately, foil covered blister packs are still a problem and often un-recyclable, even when plastic and foil is separated. So until Pharmacists introduce schemes for these too we've been following the advice of Amy French.
Join the revolution!