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UK Gets Nationwide Contact Lens Recycling Program

It’s available to all soft contact lens wearers.

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LONDON — Johnson & Johnson Vision announced that it is launching the Acuvue Contact Lens Recycle Programme, the United Kingdom’s first free nationwide program that “enables consumers to easily recycle their contact lenses and the blister and foil packaging after use.”

The program is available to all soft contact lens wearers, regardless or which contact lens brand they use, according to a press release.

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The program aims to reduce plastic waste in landfills and waterways by providing a simple and practical alternative to the UK’s 3.7 million contact wearers, according to the release. That includes the 20 percent of wearers who reported that they currently dispose of their lenses by flushing them down the toilet or the sink.

“The end result will see the recycled contact lenses, blister and foil packaging turned into new products such as outdoor furniture and plastic lumber,” the release explained.

“Seventy-seven percent 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,” said Sandra Rasche, area vice president, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Vision Care, Johnson & Johnson Medical GmbH. “As a business, we are committed to doing our part to combat climate change, protect our planet’s natural resources and reduce waste, and this new UK recycling programme represents the next step in our company’s sustainability commitment.”

Consumers will have the option of either having their contact lens material collected, or dropping it off through a network of recycling bins at public drop-off locations at optical stores across the UK, including retailer Boots Opticians Ltd. The recycling partnership with Boots Opticians and a number of independent stores aims over time to provide over 1,000 public drop-off recycling locations for contact lens waste across the UK.

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Johnson & Johnson Vision is collaborating with TerraCycle, a leader in the collection and reuse of non-recyclable post-consumer waste, to run the program.

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