Figuring out what is or is not recyclable is an ongoing struggle with program availability differing from one location to another. On the other hand, we aren’t even aware of many recycling programs available for products we dispose of frequently. Contact lens wearers, for example, have had some return returnability in past years by finding specific drop locations or mail-back options for used contact lenses. Now, Johnson & Johnson has made the process easier for 3.7 million contact wearers in the U.K.

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The newly-launched ACUVUE Contact Lens Recycle Programme is the U.K.’s first free nationwide program that includes recycling options for both contact lenses and the blister and foil packaging they come in. Although offered by Johnson & Johnson Vision, the program accepts all soft contact lenses from any manufacturer.

storefront lit up at night with acuvue contact recycling sign

“Seventy-seven percent of British contact lens wearers said they would recycle their contact lenses if they could, and we share their interest in reducing the amount of plastics in the environment,” said Sandra Rasche, Area Vice President, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Vision Care, Johnson & Johnson Medical GmbH. “As a business, we are committed to doing our part to combat climate change, protect our planet’s natural resources and reduce waste, and this new U.K. recycling program represents the next step in our company’s sustainability commitment.”

Related: This new initiative aims to sustainably recycle your old bras

The company reported that currently, about 20 percent of customers say they flush used contacts down the toilet or sink. In conjunction with TerraCycle, a world leader in reusing post-consumer waste, Johnson & Johnson launched the program with the hope of reducing garbage in landfills and water sources. In addition, the collected lenses and packaging materials gain new life in the form of products like plastic lumber and outdoor furniture.

acuvue contact case and contacts on white background with green text that reads "Accepted Waste"

Working with high street retailer Boots Opticians Ltd and independent retail optical providers across the country, Johnson & Johnson provides more than 1,000 locations for drop-off of used materials to be recycled.

+ Johnson & Johnson

Images via Johnson & Johnson