Johnson & Johnson Vision is launching a new contact lens recycling scheme following research that found that 39% of contact lens wearers aren’t sure or believe that lenses can be recycled.
The new ACUVUE Contact Lens Recycle Programme is the UK’s ‘first’ free nationwide scheme that will enable consumers to easily recycle their contact lenses and the blister and foil packaging after use.
This programme is available to all soft contact lens wearers regardless of which brand they use.
It aims to reduce plastic waste in landfills and waterways by offering a simple alternative to the UK’s 3.7 million contact wearers, including the 20% of wearers who stated that they currently dispose of their lenses by flushing them down the sink or toilet.
The end result will see the recycled contact lenses, blister and foil packaging turned into new items such as outdoor furniture and plastic lumber.
Johnson & Johnson Medical GmbH area vice president, Europe, Middle East and Africa Vision Care Sandra Rasche said: “Seventy-seven percent 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.”
Consumers will have the option to either have their lens material collected or drop it off through a network of recycling bins at optical stores throughout the UK, including retailer Boots Opticians.
This recycling partnership with Boots Opticians and a number of independent shops aims over time to provide over 1,000 drop-off recycling points for contact lens waste across the UK.
Johnson & Johnson is working with TerraCycle to run the programme.
TerraCycle Europe general manager Laura Cucuron said: “This is an exciting new partnership for us, in a sector that has previously struggled with recycling. Contact lenses and the associated blister and foil packaging are items consumers regularly ask TerraCycle about a recycling solution for so we are delighted that thanks to Acuvue, we can now offer a free Nationwide recycling solution for contact lenses for the first time in the UK.”