The UK’s first free national plastic contact lens recycling scheme has entered operation this week.
An estimated 3.7 million lens wearers across the country are now able to have their discarded items and packaging collected or drop them off at recycling bins at selected shops.
Currently, a fifth of wearers admit they flush old lenses down the toilet or the sink – the scheme aims to reduce plastic waste in landfill and the natural environment and will instead convert used materials into products such as outdoor furniture.
It is organised by medical manufacturer Johnson & Johnson Vision and recycling firm TerraCycle – research from the two organisations shows 70% of people are confused about the types of household items they can recycle and only 39% of lens wearers say they believe they can recycle contact lenses or are unsure.
Sandra Rasche, Area Vice President of Europe, Middle East and Africa Vision Care at Johnson & Johnson Medical, said: “77% 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.
“We are committed to doing our part to combat climate change, protect our planet’s natural resources and reduce waste.”