After one of my zero waste presentations, I was asked if I would keep the contents of my waste jar or eventually dispose of it in landfill. I said I would keep it for now because it’s a useful demonstration tool and because things change over time; a zero-waste solution could be just around the corner for some of the stuff in my jar.
Well, I’m excited to say that time has arrived for my used contact lenses and blister packs.
When my Terracycle newsletter arrived today announcing their FREE Bausch + Lomb Recycling Programme I immediately signed-in to my Terrcycle account, requested a free shipping label, then emailed it to my local post office to print because I don’t have a printer. Next, I boxed up all my lenses and blister packs, and when the netball season ends in three weeks, I’ll add the final ones and send them all off.
I’ve already recycled the foil component of my blister packs but you can send that along to Terracycle too. Terracycle says “Once received, the contact lenses and blister packs are separated by composition 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 remolded to make recycled products”.
One of the great things about this programme is that a $1 donation is made to Optometry Giving Sight for every kilogram of waste received. Also, if you are an eye optometrist or you would like to provide the public with an opportunity to recycle their used contact lenses and blister packs, you can register your location as a public drop-off point. Optometrists who join the program will automatically be listed on a map. I am going to alert some local optometrists to this program and it would be great if you did too.
Finally, we all know reusable lenses generate less waste but they aren’t suitable for all people all the time. If you’ve never looked into reusable lenses, then perhaps you should talk to your optometrist about that first. Recycling the lenses and blister packs is a great option if reusable lenses aren’t suitable for you.