I’ve posted a few images on Instagram of the thousands of contact lens blister packs we have recycled in my office and I keep getting the same response, “How can my office recycle too”?
Before I go into how easy this program is to take advantage of, I want to touch on what a great service this is. Used contact lenses, the plastic bubble and the foil lid can all be recycled but due to their small size they most get filtered out during the standard recycling process. This program solves this problem in a very easy way while at the same time providing a viable service to your patients and community. My practice got on board with the Bausch + Lomb ONE by ONE Recycling Program not too long ago and after gaining some traction we have quickly recycled tens of thousands of blister packs. At one point we emptied the bin in our reception area and sent in the recycling only to find our bin completely full again a mere four days later! Terracycle even counts what you send in so you can see your impact (we keep a quantity count on a board by our bin so patients can see what they’ve done)!
Our practice has found its mojo with patients by making the program visible on our website, social media, front office, exam rooms, and also a small flyer and quick explanation of the program to each contact lens patient when they order or pickup lenses. Most people are surprised that these can even be recycled as they have never considered it but they are happy that they can be recycled as especially daily lenses can quickly create bagfuls of waste. Multiply that bag by a household and that is a lot of waste that adds up quickly! The lenses themselves can also be recycled which is great considering the recent news stories about contact lenses jamming plumbing systems and being bad for water treatment.
TerraCycle and Bausch + Lomb have partnered to create a free recycling program for all contact lenses and blister packs. They make it extremely easy for any practice to participate, here’s the details:
What you can recycle in this program
Program accepted waste: Biotrue® ONEday brand contact lenses and blister packs, as well as contact lenses and blister packs from all brands. Unused contacts should be poked before sending in so the fluid drains out
Cardboard boxes from 5/10 trial packs and 30 and 90 packs are recyclable through regular municipal recycling. Please do not include them in your shipments through this program.
What happens to the waste
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.
Accepted Waste Poster
Office Sign-Up Guide
US Program locator: in the lower 48
Recycling bin: once you get your account with Terracycle (quick online setup), contact your B&L rep and they will provide you with a bin! Easy as that!
Your impact count: once you’ve sent in some materials to recycle when you login to your Terracycle account you can view your count.
Other marketing material
Once you have a Terracycle account and login you can also download the following (and more) helpful materials:
- School Break Collection Challenge
- Run a TerraCycle Collection Contest
- Summer Break Collection Drive Flyer
- Retail Display Flyer
- Engaging Your Community Guide
If you have questions or feedback about the program let me know in the comments!
11 thoughts on “How to Recycle Contact Lenses and Blister Packs”
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Thanks for sharing. We’re making it super easy for you to recycle your lenses. Simply collect your contact lens waste at home and either ship free of charge, or drop off at your nearest participating opticians practice
Do you know if they are still accepting all brands of contact lenses and blister packs? The website says only Bausch + Lomb brands.
They do accept any brand. Their website says “We will also accept contact lenses and blister packs from all brands.”
I have just started using daily contact lenses. I would like to know how I can dispose of the blister packs and used contacts. Thank you.
You can search for a participating facility near you at this link: https://www.terracycle.com/en-USemail@example.com:-95.93705549677736zoom:4
Should I separate the foil from the plastic blister pack?
I believe you do not need to separate.
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I live in Hawaii how can I get in on being a recycle location?
I would contact Terracycle, who runs the program.