Daily Disposable Contact Lenses What About the Environment?

I’ve had a few patients recently express concerns about the waste associated with daily disposable contacts vs monthly reusable lenses. This is a subject that has warranted legitimate concern and research. Fortunately, studies show that there is not a significant difference in waste generated between the two modalities, often underestimated is the cost and environmental impact of the contact lens solutions and cases that are required to maintain healthy disinfection of the reusable contact lenses.

  • The ecological waste of daily disposable contact lenses (approx. 2.2lbs/year) is not significantly different from reusable lenses (1.9lbs/year) due to the need for contact lens solution bottles and packaging. 
  • The plastic in one reusable contact lens case is equivalent to 4 years’ worth of daily lenses.
  • The plastic in one hydrogen peroxide system case is equal to 8 years’ worth of daily lenses.
  • Recycling or disposing in the garbage is preferred for all contact lenses.  Any contact lens that is disposed of in the toilet or down the sink is likely to break down into microplastics and enter the water system.
  • Fortunately, all of the waste related to contact lenses is now recyclable. Much material science research is currently being conducted to better recycle the current waste plastics as well as to create more biodegradable plastics.

From Contact Lens Spectrum “The Environmental Impact of Contact Lens Waste” August 2019

Recycling Option Available at Oswego Optique

We participate in a recycling program with Bausch&Lomb to take any brand of contact lenses and the plastic and foil packaging for recycling.  Bring in your saved packaging and we will send it to be recycled at TerraCycle.  Cardboard packaging can be put into regular recycling.