Contact lenses and plastic pollution, how you can avoid it

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Halloween contact lenses

There’s a mounting worry about the quantity of plastic waste that is happening to end up in our oceans, keeping this concern in our minds, there has been a lot of talks lately as to how we can dispose of our contact lenses properly. A lot of questions have been raised as to how the disposal contact lenses have affected marine life.

Even though people argue that contact lenses make up only a small percentage of plastic waste to be found in the ocean, still it is part of the problem no matter how small and has to be dealt with properly. 

The usage of colour contacts and Halloween contact lenses has not helped the situation also. After Halloween parties, a lot of waste consists of disposable coloured contacts.

The danger of environmental pollution is becoming a progressively more significant conversation as local communities and governments are working to eradicate the issue of climate change and the impact of inadequately disposed of waste. One of the many popular initiatives launched to start the elimination process of plastic waste has been Plastic Free July. This awareness month was first started in 2011 by the WMRC Earth Carers in Perth, Australia.

There have been collective efforts by brands worldwide to eradicate the issue of poor disposal of contact lenses and allow the users the opportunity to properly dispose of the contacts no longer in use.

Experts have warned of the risks of contact lenses that are not disposed of in the correct way may be causing problems to waterway systems and the marine environment.

We inspect here both, the problem and some potential solutions:

The Problem

A survey has indicated that many teenagers and adults alike usually flush their contact lenses down the toilet in order to dispose of them, which directly affects the life in the ocean

So just how much waste does that equate to?

Having used contact lenses almost his entire adult life, researcher Rolf Halden of ASU’s Biodesign Institute’s Center for Environmental Health Engineering began investigating the problem when he started speculating as to how contact lenses might be contributing to the increasing plastic waste – particularly microplastics –  in our water system. The researcher asserted that contact lenses could “contribute a load of at least 20,000 kilograms (44,000 pounds) per year.” He computed that the wrapping put in about 29 million pounds (13 million kilograms) of polypropylene to the waste related to contact lenses.

There quite a few million people who wear contact lenses in Australia alone and that could mean there are near a billion of lenses which are thrown into the ocean as plastic waste.

It is perfectly clear about contact lenses that they are either flushed down the toilet or disposed into a sinkhole, experts found that they usually ended up in water treatment plants and become part of sewerage deposit, or go directly into the ocean. The thing about plastic waste is that it does not degrade. Now when these things go into the ocean, they are usually galloped by fishes and planktons, as they misjudge them as food and later they end up harming us, humans.

Basically what happens is that the plastic ends up in the fish’s body and when we consume them it affects our health too.

The Solution

Contact lens users are recommended to throw off their contact lenses in solid rubbish bins, and keep away from throwing them into the sink or down the toilet flush. Those who are tremendously conscious about the environment may even want to and maybe they should jump to non-disposable monthly or two weekly lenses to lessen the plastic waste by contact lenses.

The thought of customers themselves devoting to recycling the contact lens-related waste is quite revolutionary. While TerraCycle and Acuvue are showing the path in Australia for contact lens recycling, at present, Bausch & Lomb are the only company that has a contact lens recycling program in America. This program reprocesses lenses and packaging. TerraCycle and Acuvu accept plastic waste products from any contact lens producer, meaning users of other company’s products can also send them their waste, making Acuvue & Terracyle as a pioneer in this particular area.

Contacts are great considering you do not feel like wearing anything and they provide a wonderful look for your eyes for parties and Halloween. But it is also advised, for the sake of the environment, that you dispose of the contacts when they are no longer in use, in a proper manner so that you do not become the cause of environmental degradation rather you work for the betterment of not only the marine life but also yours. When buying coloured contacts make sure you are buying recyclable material.

Mesmereyze Australi sells one of the best recyclable coloured contacts.