Can you recycle contact lenses?
Taking care of the environment is a top priority, and contact lens wearers can help do their part to chip in. To keep your eye on eco-friendly habits, here’s our helpful guide on how to recycle and properly dispose of your contact lenses, packaging and eye care accessories.
To first understand how and what can be recycled, we’ll need to break down the different materials that make up a box of contact lenses. Most contact lenses packaging contains:
- Cardboard packaging
- Plastic blister packs
- Blister pack foil tab covering
- Contact lenses
- Solution bottles and cases
Of these materials, only a select few can be recycled at home, while others must be returned to a specific location to be recycled. Like at our Lenstore office, where we have partnered with TerraCycle to help reduce waste.
Here are the best ways you can dispose of old contact lenses and packaging to minimise plastic particles in our waterways and landfill sites.
What contact lens packaging can I recycle at home?
Luckily, much of the packaging that contacts come in is easily recycled at home by the following methods.
Cardboard packaging – the boxes your lenses come in are mostly made of 100% paper products, so they are widely recycled in local collection schemes.
Plastic blister packs – formed from polypropylene plastic many blister packs are accepted in general plastic recycling programmes, but the foil tabs covering the packs should be removed.
Solution bottles – also constructed from recyclable plastic materials, solution bottles and cases can be placed in household recycling bins alongside other types of plastic materials.
What contact lens packaging can I not recycle at home?
Blister pack foil tab covering – due to its small size, the foil on blister packs is unable to be recycled. Please remove them from the plastic and sort them with your general waste.
Are contact lenses recyclable?
Contact lenses are made from hydrogel and silicone-hydrogel components, making them non-biodegradable plastics and unable to be collected with your household recycling.
But, speciality recycling options like ACUVUE’s Contact Lens Recycle Programme–allow customers to drop off used lenses and packaging at Optician practices across the UK (including at our Lenstore Wimbledon HQ) to be repurposed.
If you choose to dispose of your lenses at home, please never flush them down the toilet or sink after use. Their non-biodegradable construction can add microplastic pollution to our marine habitats. Instead, please discard used lenses in everyday waste bins or set them aside to be recycled at a later date.
Other eco-friendly contact lens tips
If you want to put in the extra effort for environmental sustainability, you can also try these tips to limit your lens waste.
- Consider changing from a daily to monthly lens prescription to reduce plastic and packaging by-products
- Once finished, wash out and reuse cases and solution bottles for other purposes
- Cut down on shipping costs and carbon output by purchasing multiple boxes of lenses in one order
While you’re doing your part to save the environment, we’re doing our part to help you save on lenses. To see our full range of great value contacts, shop here.