VAUGHAN, Ontario—On November 15, 2023, also known as America Recycles Day, Bausch + Lomb announced that its One by One and Biotrue Eye Care recycling programs have collected a total of 76,645,000 million units, or 464,100 pounds, of used contact lenses, eye care and lens care materials in the United States. This is equal to the weight of 140 hippos.

Contact lenses, eyecare and lens care materials are not typically processed in standard recycling facilities due to their small size and the type of plastic that is used to manufacture them. As a result, these items can end up in landfills or waterways. In the U.S., it is estimated that six to 10 metric tons of contact lenses end up in wastewater each year, which can pollute aquatic environments and eventually impact the human food supply.

To combat this, the One By One Recycling program has collected more than 76 million used contact lenses, blister packs and top foils since the program’s launch in November 2016. The Biotrue Eye Care Recycling program, which launched in April 2021, has collected more than 645,000 eye drop single dose units, lens cases, lens solution caps and all Biotrue-branded eye drops bottles, which are recyclable through standard recycling in accordance with local guidelines.

Amy Butler, vice president, global environment, health, safety and sustainability, Bausch + Lomb, said, “As a result of the contributions of eyecare professionals, patients and consumers, these award-winning programs continue to help keep recyclable plastic and aluminum eye health packaging materials out of landfills and oceans.”

Earlier this year, Going Green spoke with Jennifer Tsai, OD, founder and owner of Line of Sight in New York City who joined Bausch + Lomb’s recycling programs. Dr. Tsai and her team are able to encourage their community to collect and drop off used contact lens materials from all brands at their office, offering a genuine and wide-reaching sustainability effort. Dr. Tsai said, “My patients appreciate being able to recycle their used eye health materials through the Bausch + Lomb recycling programs in an environmentally responsible way. It allows them, and our practice, to be part of the solution.”

Bausch + Lomb’s recycling programs continue to grow and provide sustainable solutions for the eyecare community, allowing doctors, patients and everyone to get involved at a grassroots level.