Boots Opticians partners with ACUVUE® and TerraCycle® to launch UK’s first contact lenses recycling programme

15 January 2019

Partnership aims to significantly reduce plastic in landfill and provide a simple and practical alternative to the UK’s 3.7 million contact wearers

Boots Opticians has today announced a new partnership with ACUVUE® and TerraCycle® to launch a nationwide recycling programme to provide contact lenses wearers with a sustainable solution for lens disposal.

A lack of environmentally friendly options for contact lens waste is a real issue in the UK and is often overlooked in society. Research by Johnson and Johnson found that nearly two thirds (61%) of contact lenses wearers in the UK don’t believe they can currently recycle their lenses.

The scheme, which is the first of its kind in the UK, is run in partnership with recycling experts TerraCycle®. It is available to all soft contact lens wearers in the UK, regardless of which brand they use. Following a simple tried and tested process from TerraCycle®, the programme has the potential to support over three quarters (77%) of British contact lens wearers who said they would recycle their lenses if they could.  

Consumers will have the option of having their contact lens waste collected, or simply dropping off their contact lenses through a network of recycling bins at public drop-off locations at optical stores across the UK, including Boots Opticians. The scheme aims over time to provide over 1,000 public drop-off recycling locations for contact lens waste across the UK. The end result will see the recycled contact lenses, blister and foil packaging turned into new products such as outdoor furniture and plastic lumber. 

To launch the initiative, a special event was held at Boots flagship store on Oxford Street where staff were engaging customers into thinking about recycling their contact lenses. Those that were interested in starting to recycle their lenses received a free mini bin to get started.

Jonathan Gardner, Boots Opticians Managing Director, comments: “At Boots Opticians we’re committed to help reduce the impact our everyday lives can have on the environment and we are delighted to be partnering with Johnson and Johnson to be the only current high street retailer to house the contact lens recycling points in all of our practices across the UK. This will give all contact lens wearers a simple and convenient way to recycle their lenses safely on the high street for the very first time.”

Boots UK and Boots Opticians have actively been working to further reduce the impact the business has on the environment. This initiative enables 100% of contact lens wearers to recycle their lenses and not just those who proactively seek out a privately paid recycling partner.

Earlier this year, Boots UK also signed up to the UK Plastics Pact, led by WRAP – a multi-stakeholder initiative bringing together all kinds of organisations and individuals involved in the plastics value chain – to tackle plastic waste and make a fundamental change in the way we design, produce, use, re-use, dispose and reprocess plastics.