Recycling contact lenses
Recycling contact lenses
When it comes to protecting and improving our environment, it’s important that we all try to do our bit. As part of our ongoing environmental commitment, we’ve put together some information on how best to dispose and recycle your contact lenses, as well as the packaging they come in.
Cardboard packaging your lenses come in
The box your lenses come in can be recycled at local recycling points and through most household recycling collection schemes.
Plastic blister packs (without the foil lids)
These are made from PP (polypropylene) plastic and are generally accepted for recycling, however, you must remove the foil lids. PP is a material that is used for things such as ketchup bottles, carrier bags or takeaway tubs.
These are usually made from HDPE (high-density polythene) plastic, a material that is generally used for things such as detergent bottles, margarine tubs, bottle caps or milk jugs.
They might also be made from PET (polythene terephthalate) plastic and may be referred to as single use clear plastic bottles.
Foil lid on blister packs
Then what should I do with my used contact lenses?
Contact lenses are not biodegradable and are generally made from plastic type materials, such as hydrogel, silicone hydrogel or non-hydrogel variants.It is possible to recycle contact lenses but it’s usually not a practical option due to their small size and limitations of local authority recycling collections. As a result, Specsavers has partnered with MYgroup, a recycling and waste disposal company, so that customers can recycle their contact lenses (and plastic contact lenses packaging) free of charge by bringing them into their local store. Specsavers also offers free glasses recycling. Recycling boxes can be found in all UK optical stores, so you can place your old or used contact lenses (including any plastic contact lenses packaging), in there, and it will be turned into something different and useful.
How does the recycling process work?
Once full, the recycling boxes are collected by MYgroup and transported to its plastics recycling division in Hull. The contents are manually and mechanically sorted to separate out plastics and metals (for example, hinges and screws from glasses).Plastic material is mechanically shredded and sent to the board mill, which creates three layers of shredded plastic – two skin layers and a core. The shredded plastic is heated and pressed into each layer, and then the three layers are heated and pressed into a strong, durable and 100% recycled board, ready for a multitude of uses.
The recycled plastic boards are an ideal replacement for plywood and are used in construction, shopfitting, joinery and more. The MYgroup team also design and create a wide range of items made from the recycled plastic boards, including furniture and home and gardenware.
For more information about MYgroup and the recycling services they provide, please go to their website.