Bausch + Lomb, an eye health product company and one of the world’s largest suppliers of contact lenses, announced progress on its recycling programs.
The company has collected 76,645,000 million units, or 464,100 pounds, of used contact lenses, eye care, and lens care materials in the United States as part of its ONE by ONE and Biotrue Eye Care Recycling programs.
Contact lenses, as well as eye care products and lens care materials, are typically too small to be processed in regular recycling processes, and unfortunately, most of these products end up in landfills and waterways. In fact, as much as 6 to 10 metric tons of contact lenses end up in wastewater each year, the company said.
Since the ONE by ONE recycling program was launched in November 2016, it has collected more than 76 million used contact lenses, blister packs, and top foils. The program is open to contact lens wearers and eye care professionals, and nearly 14,000 eye care practices are registered as official recycling centers of the program.
Contact lens wearers can bring their used contact lenses and packaging materials to one of these practices, which collects the materials in a specific recycling bin from Bausch + Lomb. Once the bin is full, the optometry practice ships the materials using a Bausch + Lomb pre-paid shipping label to TerraCycle. The products are cleaned and melted into hard plastic pellets that can be used to make new recycled products.
The Biotrue Eye Care Recycling program has collected more than 645,000 eye drop single dose units, lens cases, lens solution caps, and Biotrue-branded eye drops bottles. Consumers can mail their used eye drop single dose units, lens cases lens solution caps and all Biotrue-branded eye drops bottles to TerraCycle using a pre-paid shipping label where they will be recycled.
News of the progress on the recycling programs comes as other healthcare-related companies are focused on improved sustainability in the industry. In October, GE Healthcare teamed up with ReLink Medical to reduce medical device waste for healthcare providers through selling, recycling or donating equipment that is no longer needed. Honeywell also recently partnered with Recipharm to develop pressurized metered dose inhalers that use Honeywell’s near-zero global warming potential propellant.