In honor of Earth Day (April 22), Eyecare Business spotlights a very simple way that eyecare professionals and their patients can contribute to reducing waste. Bausch + Lomb created the ONE by ONE Recycling Program in partnership with Terracycle to recycle all those used blister packs, top foils, and contact lenses that are not included in standard recycling (they are too small and get filtered out of the recycling stream, ending up in landfills).
Just a year and half after beginning, ONE by ONE has recycled more than 2.5 million contact lens items through its participating doctor locations and patients, saving nearly 14,000 pounds of waste.
How does it work, and what can this free program do for your practice? Eyecare Business sat down with Gina Wesley, O.D., of Complete Eye Care of Medina, MN, to find out.
EB: How does it work in your office?
GW: As a registered optometry office with the ONE by ONE recycling program, we were provided large recycling bins, which we feature in all our exam rooms. Our office uses these bins to collect used contact lenses and the blister packs, and top foil they come in, and we also encourage our patients to do the same— stockpile their used contact lens materials and bring them into our office. Once the bins are full, we print out the free shipping labels provided by Bausch + Lomb and mail the materials in to be properly recycled.
Our patients and any other contact lens wearer can also recycle their contact lenses from home by printing out a free shipping label from the Bausch + Lomb ONE by ONE website, bauschrecycles.com. You can also view a map of the United States, which shows all of the optometry offices that are currently involved in this program.
EB: What has the response been from patients?
GW: I’ve received very positive feedback from my patients, especially because many of them have been asking about a program like this for years. People are really excited. I'm telling all my patients about it and encouraging them to save their contact lenses, used blister packs, and top foil so they can be properly recycled through this program.
EB: How much waste do you estimate has been recycled from your practice’s involvement?
GW: At my office, we see between 100-125 contact lens wearers every month. Through my patients’ contributions plus my practice using lenses every day to fit patients, we are sending in 5 to 10 pounds almost every month. This would calculate out to be around 100 pounds of waste.
EB: What do you want every practice to know about this program?
GW: That it’s free to join and free to send in your contact lens materials—whether you’re a patient or a professional. Even though the materials themselves are small, the amount of waste really builds up over time. I love that our practice and patient’s now have a program like this where we can send in our materials to be recycled properly, some of which is remolded into other recycled products.
It’s so amazing to see how many people want to participate, and I love seeing people drive up and drop off their lenses in the container we have in the vestibule! It’s really humbling to see people take the time out of their busy lives to collect their contact lens waste and take the time to recycle it. And for a good cause!
How can your practice participate? Click here.