Want to reduce plastic waste?
We’ve just launched our new Contact Lens Recycling Program.
Listen as Kai Kang shares about how it works below:
(Leigh)- So Kai, if you wear contact lenses especially disposable contact lenses maybe they’re daily disposable or fortnightly or monthly lenses they come in these little plastic blister packs with solution in them and the foil over the top and a lot of this material can’t be recycled through the normal Council Recycling Program. So, how does that affect the environment?
(Kai)- So as you have mentioned, a lot of people rely on contact lenses to improve their vision but these sight-correcting devices do not last forever and they eventually are disposed off in various ways.
So, a survey done in the U.S. found that 15 to 20 percent of contact lens wearers are actually flushing their lenses down the sink or down the toilet.
And at the Waste Treatment Plant, the plastic in the contact lenses loses some of its structural strength and it will break down physically and these lead to smaller plastic particles which ultimately lead to the formation of Microplastics.
As these Microplastics find their way into the sea, they sink to the bottom because they’re a lot denser than water.
And they pose a threat to aquatic life especially bottom feeders that may ingest these Microplastics. And if you probably work your way up the marine food chain, the Bioproducts may then end up on your plate.
So what we’ve done is, we’ve teamed up with Bausch + Lomb in their Recycling Program. So, what you can do or what a lot of patients can do is to collect your contact lenses, the blister packs and contact lens cases and drop them off in our TerraCycle Recycling box at Ezekiel Eyes when you come in for your eye examination. But remember to dispose the cardboard packaging through your Council’s regular recycling bin.
(Leigh)- So we can recycle the packaging that the contact lens comes in, the cardboard on the outside but we bring in the plastic blister packs and the foil and the contact lenses themselves to Ezekiel Eyes is for recycling?
– That’s right. So the cardboard can be recycled like paper. while previously contact lenses and it’s blister packs cannot actually be recycled through the Council’s Recycling Program.
(Leigh) – So, when Ezekiel Eyes has collected all of this material, what happens to it next?
(Kai)- So through this Programme, first, you’re doing your part for charity so every kilogram of contact lens or blister pack collected through this Recycling Programme a dollar will be donated to Optometry Giving Sight, a charity that is dedicated to help prevent blindness around the world.
Now, in terms of recycling once these products are received at the plant, so the blister packs and contact lenses are cleaned, the metal layer of the blister packs are recycled separately while the contact lenses and the plastic blister pack components are melted into plastic. They can then be remoulded into recycled products.
(Leigh)- It’s great to see the contact lens themselves and the blister packs being turned into other useful materials as well.
(Kai)- That’s right. You know the world’s becoming a more disposable world so I think we’ve got to play our part to help save the environment.
(Leigh)- So through Ezekiel Eyes and their TerraCycle Program it’s really a beneficial programme not only for the material itself but also if you’re helping people who are less fortunate than us.
(Kai)- That’s right. And through this Program, all our patients and ourselves we can play our part to save the environment and at the same time help the less fortunate.
(Leigh)- So, if I’ve got some contact lens material ready to be recycled, when’s the best time to drop it off to Ezekiel Eyes?
(Kai)- Anytime, so you can always collect a family’s contact lenses in a plastic bag and drop them off. And drop them off in a box that we’ve got at the front.
(Leigh)- Thanks very much, Kai for talking to us about TerraCycle and how it’s now available at Ezekiel Eyes. If someone was looking for an appointment at Ezekiel Eyes, what’s the best way to go about it and make an appointment?
Did you know that there’s an environmentally friendly toothbrush invented by an Australian Dentist?