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General awareness of the problem of climate change has provided brands with an opportunity to contribute to climate health. Apple, for example, has publicly committed itself to green initiatives such as battery recycling and powering operations with renewable energy sources.
Now, Bausch + Lomb, an optical care company, has joined the green movement by offering recycling services through a collaboration with TerraCycle, an organization that specializes in hard-to-recycle materials.
The One by One Recycling Program instituted by Bausch + Lomb enables contact lens wearers to recycle used lenses, opened blister packs, and top foil—materials which often end up in landfills because of their small size.
According to a Bausch + Lomb infographic, the waste generated from contact lens packaging in the United States in one year could circle the earth three times. So, it seems fortunate that the program has helped recycle over 1 million lens items so far.
During the 2018 Earth Day celebration, held at Union Square in New York City, Bausch + Lomb promoted its recycling program to members of the 15,000-person crowd that attended.
According to its brochure, the program, “allows used contact lenses and packaging to be recycled properly, with the goal of reducing landfill waste.”
The company further states that the program, “was inspired by the green efforts of the Bausch + Lomb daily disposable manufacturing facility in Waterford, Ireland . . . [which] has made strides in developing a more sustainable approach to reducing waste.”
To participate in the program, contact lens wearers need to set up an account at ‘bauschrecycles.com.’ Then, participants collect their used lenses, blister packs, and top foil in a small cardboard box. After printing a free shipping label, participants drop their sealed boxes of recyclables off at their doctors’ offices or at any UPS location. They do not need to pay for any shipping costs.
Once TerraCycle receives the recyclables, contact lenses and blister packs are separated and cleaned. The metal layers of the blister packs are recycled separately, while the contact lenses and plastic blister pack components are melted into plastic, which can be remolded to make recycled products.
Bausch + Lomb donates $1 to charitable organization Optometry Giving Sight for every one pound of recyclable material it receives. According to the company, it “continues to dedicate efforts to reducing waste and energy consumption with the establishment of over 60 recycling streams and the installation of a solar array at [its] facility in Rochester, New York.”
Any contact lens wearer may participate in the program, not just those who wear Bausch + Lomb users.
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