78 Pounds of Plastic
It’s almost September…what happened to August! I finished and graduated from 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training, spent a week in the Outer Banks and we started Isis in a forest school. Woot woot! In my (Almost) Plastic Free Bathroom post I shared that I recycle my contact lens packaging. I received several comments stating that people did not know that this was possible. I also did not know it was possible to recycle all these pieces until more recently.
I started needing to wear glasses in 8th grade and quickly got contact lenses. I felt insecure wearing glasses. The lenses I had then lasted a long time (like a year, unless I lost one which of naturally I did). Later I got contact lenses that were good for a month and then even later two weeks but of course wore them for four. A few years ago the optometrist suggested that I switch to daily disposable lenses. I was a little hesitant given the amount of packaging and subsequent waste that daily disposable lenses create yet wanted the best option for my eye health. I decided to stretch my contact lenses use out by wearing my glasses more. AND…
I was thrilled to learn that you can send your contact lens blisters (that’s what they call those plastic holders with foil tops) AND your used lenses back for recycling. Bausch + Lumb partnered with TerraCycle to create a FREE recycling program- you can drop them off at participating stores or request a (free) shipping label to send them back to the company. Check it out here. I searched to see if there are other contact lens companies joining in and found that Acuvue has a recycling program but it looks like it is only in Great Britain.
I keep a stash of the blisters with my used contact lenses under the bathroom sink and when it begins to overflow I request a shipping label, pack it all in a padded envelope or box (upcycled) and send it in for recycling. I recycle the card boxes in my curbside recycling. Although I do not use contact solution you can recycle the cardboard box and plastic bottle. A year supply of contact lenses produces about 3 pounds of plastic waste. Given that I have been wearing contacts since 8th grade that is approximately 78 pounds of plastic. That is a lot of little pieces of plastic going into landfills, waterways and oceans. Wearing contact lenses is by no means a zero waste choice. AND recycling the blisters and lenses makes a difference.
What are other ways do you practice less waste with your eye care?