I often get questions about recycling glasses and contact lens as well as eco-friendly brands, so I put together this quick guide to help you wear them in the most eco-friendly way possible!
Even though most glasses, all contact lenses and solutions are made with plastic, there are still ways that you can buy better, recycle and donate to lessen the impact on the planet.
I’ve put together a list of frequently asked questions to make it easier for you to wear glasses and contact lenses in an eco-friendly way.
Can contact lens solutions be recycled and is there a plastic-free alternative like glass or metal?
I haven’t yet found a manufacturer that makes bottles out of glass or metal but the bottles CAN be recycled in your plastics bin. It will greatly increase the likelihood that they will be recycled if you choose clear plastic over white plastic. This makes it easier to recognise by recycling machines than coloured plastic.
Buy glasses made with natural materials
The glasses industry is further forward than the contact lenses business when it comes to using sustainable materials. Here are some UK-based companies making a difference:
- Peep eyewear restores glasses and sunglasses by reglazing them and sells vintage frames as well as stocking recycled cleaning cloths made with plastic bottles.
- Bird Sunglasses is a B-Corp certified company that makes glasses and sunglasses from sustainable materials and gives a portion of profits to SolarAid.
- Retrospecced is a social enterprise that upcycles designer and vintage frames while giving back to Vision Aid Overseas.
Where to recycle your old glasses
If you’re like me, then your glasses prescription will change every few years and you’ll need to update your specs. The good news is that Vision Aid Overseas have collection points all over the UK (Specsavers have quite a few) and they distribute them to visually impaired people in countries all over the world.
Where to recycle your old lenses
Contact lenses are a nightmare because they’re so small and they can turn into microplastics and end up in the sea if they’re thrown away. Thankfully they can now be recycled but only through a specific recycling scheme.
Lenses and their packets, even ones that haven’t been opened can be dropped off at various Terracycle points around the UK. Many of these are at opticians or at Boots stores. They are made into hard plastic that is then made into various sturdy plastic products like benches.
Do you have any tips for being short or long-sighted in an ethical and eco-friendlier way? Share your tips in the comments below.
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