Contact lens recycling scheme launched across UK

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Contact lens Image copyright Getty Images

Contact lens wearers will be able to recycle their lenses for free in a new UK-wide scheme launching this week.

Wearers can dispose of their waste at public drop-off points, offered by Boots Opticians and other selected independent stores, or choose to have their old lenses collected.

There are 3.7 million soft lens users in the UK who can access the scheme, regardless of which brand they use.

The scheme also offers recycling for the blister and foil packaging.

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According to research by the organisers, Johnson and Johnson Vision, 20% of consumers currently flush their plastic lenses down the toilet or sink.

Previously, if customers wanted to recycle their contact lenses and packaging they had to use a paid-for recycling service, the company said.

The firm added that old lenses could be turned into items including outdoor furniture or plastic lumber.

Sandra Rasche, area vice president of Johnson and Johnson Vision, said: “70% 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.”

Roger Baynham, chairman of the BPF Recycling Group, said: “It is encouraging that consumers are now becoming more conscious of the impact that waste can have on the environment.

“We strongly discourage people from flushing away any item made of plastic, as there is the risk it may find its way into the sea.”

The programme is run in collaboration with recycling firm, TerraCycle.

Customers are advised to check the Acuvue and TerraCycle websites for details about their nearest public drop-off location points or couriers.

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