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CooperVision steps up sustainability commitment in Australia and New Zealand

All CooperVision one-day contact lenses distributed in Australia and New Zealand are now plastic neutral, the company has announced.

The initiative is made possible through a global partnership with Plastic Bank, a social enterprise that builds ethical recycling ecosystems in coastal communities.

For every box of CooperVision one-day contact lenses distributed in Australia and New Zealand, the company purchases credits that fund the collection and recycling of ocean-bound plastic into the global supply chain, that is equal to the weight of the plastic used in its one-day contact lenses, the blister and the outer carton packaging.

Plastic Bank collectors in the coastal communities receive a premium for the materials they collect, which helps them provide basic family necessities such as groceries, cooking fuel, school fees, and health insurance.

Ms Michelle North, general manager ANZ at CooperVision, said the company, like many, is on a sustainability journey.

Watch: CooperVision’s APAC Plastic Neutrality initiative 

“Over the past several years, we have built a strong track record of sustainable manufacturing and operations, focused on areas in which we can make the greatest impact,” she said.

“Plastic plays a critical role in the hygienic delivery and sterile protection of our contact lenses, and how that plastic is managed is important to us. The commitment to making all of our one-day lenses in Australia and New Zealand plastic neutral is an innovative addition in CooperVision’s holistic approach to sustainability, with the opportunity to make a positive impact – for our oceans, and for everyone.”

Mr David Katz, founder and CEO at Plastic Bank, said the partnership is about every eyecare professional and consumer who wants to help create positive change.

“CooperVision and Plastic Bank are making it easier to improve the environment, creating a platform in which others can participate. That’s how and where change begins,” he said.

Research shows that sustainability is a growing priority for consumers, and they care how plastic is managed. In a 2021 survey commissioned by CooperVision, 94% of contact lens wearers agreed that keeping plastic out of the oceans is important to them.

Neary all (99%) of contact lens wearers agree that if their optometrist recommended a plastic neutral daily disposable contact lens, it would have a positive impact on trying that lens.

One year after CooperVision established the first plastic neutral contact lens in the USA though its partnership with Plastic Bank, the program has already made a significant environmental and social impact worldwide:

  • The equivalent of nearly 28 million plastic bottles have been prevented from polluting the oceans.
  • 171 coastal communities have directly benefited from exchanging ocean-bound plastic for necessities such as clean water, groceries, cooking oil, school tuition, and even health insurance.

CooperVision’s partnership with Plastic Bank is said to be the largest plastic neutrality initiative in the contact lens industry.

Currently, 18 CooperVision subsidiaries in Europe and North America are participating with nine more in Asia, South America, and Europe slated to join this year. With this expanded scale, the program is expected to prevent the equivalent of nearly 90 million plastic bottles from reaching oceans in 2022 – more than three times the amount collected in 2021.

All CooperVision one-day contact lens brands in Australia and New Zealand are included in the plastic neutral initiative, including registered brands MyDay, clariti 1 day, MiSight 1 day, Proclear 1 day, and Biomedics 1 day.

There is no enrolment process for eyecare professionals or consumers; anyone who recommends or wears the lenses is participating.

For more information about CooperVision’s plastic neutral initiative, visit www.coopervision.net.au/plasticneutral

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