Contact lens recycling – six months on
Photo caption: Mathew Reeves, Assistant Manager at Valli Opticians Hebden Bridge, with one of the recycling boxes.
It’s six months since Valli Opticians became the first in the country to offer contact lens recycling and the scheme is going from strength to strength.
Despite being based in the North of England the opticians group has been contacted by people from across the UK, including as far as Devon, who have arranged to post their contact lens waste to the company so that it can dispose of them in specialist recycling boxes.
Contact lens wearers can take, or post, their used contact lenses, top foil and blister packs to special Zero Waste Boxes at Valli Opticians’ practices across Yorkshire, Merseyside, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Hull.
Rachel Valli, director at Valli Opticians, said: “The feedback has been great, I think people are genuinely pleased that they now have an opportunity to send their contact lens waste for recycling. We have had many people posting contact lens waste to us from across the country.
“We’re often mentioned on social media in response to people asking for recommendations as to how they can recycle their contact lens waste. We’ve also been contacted by the BBC about the scheme and featured in our local and optical media.”
Rachel added: “Since launching the scheme we have been actively lobbying suppliers to work with us so that it can be rolled out to a wider audience. We want it to become nationwide so that as many of the UK’s contact lens wearers as possible have easy access this recycling method.”
The Zero Waste Boxes are a paid for solution from recycling company TerraCycle, which specialises in typically hard to recycle waste. Contact lenses, top foil and blister packs are a mix of complex materials which cannot be recycled by the mainstream UK council kerbside infrastructure. When the boxes are full Valli Opticians send them back to TerraCycle who separate and then recycle the different materials which are then used to create new products such as durable outdoor furniture.
The scheme is open to everyone, not just Valli Opticians’ patients. To find your nearest Valli Opticians practice click here:
Solution bottles and cardboard packaging are not accepted in the contact lens recycling boxes as these can be disposed of in regular household recycling bins.