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Bausch + Lomb increases effort to reduce contact lens waste

30/10/2018By Myles Hume
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Bausch + Lomb has vowed to double all donations raised in a recycling program that has prevented more than 200,000 pieces of contact lens waste from reaching Australian landfills.

To celebrate World Sight Day, the company has ramped up its fundraising drive between October 11 and December 11 as part of a free national recycling program in partnership with recycling company TerraCycle.

The B+L Recycling Program, launched in July 2017, allows Australians to collect and ship all brands of used contact lenses, blister packs and lens cases to TerraCycle free-of-charge. Once received, TerraCycle shreds, washes and melts the waste down into raw materials for producing new products, such as garden beds and park benches.

For each kilogram of contact lens waste sent to TerraCycle, B+L donates $1 to Optometry Giving Sight, a global fundraising initiative for the prevention of blindness and vision impairment.

TerraCycle shreds, washes and melts the waste down into raw materials for producing new products, such as park benches
TerraCycle shreds, washes and melts the waste down into raw materials for producing new products, such as park benches

For the two-month period ending December 11, B+L will match all funds raised. According to TerraCycle more than 200,000 pieces of waste to date had been diverted away from Australian landfills, raising $500.

“We want to remind optometrists and contact lens wearers that they are making a difference by recycling contact lens waste and are also contributing to support a great charity – Optometry Giving Sight,” B+L brand manager of lens care Ms Maria Tran said.

An American study in September revealed up to 10 tonnes of contact lenses ends up in US wastewater each year. The results were derived from a chemical analysis of wastewater and a survey, which led the scientists to estimate that that 15–20% of US contact lens wearers flush their lenses down the sink or toilet.

TerraCycle Australia & New Zealand general manager Mr Jean Bailliard said she was proud of the efforts to keep contact lens waste out of Australian landfills.

“We’re confident our collectors will get behind this campaign to recycle more and to help Optometry Giving Sight make an even bigger impact,” Bailliard said.

To date, across 21 countries, TerraCycle has diverted four billion pieces of waste from landfill and incineration, and has raised US$21.5 million (AU$30.3 million) for schools and non-profit organisations.

More reading

Tonnes of contact lenses flushed down the toilet

B+L contact lens recycling program hits 140k milestone

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