Optical by National Pharmacies Pioneers Contact Lens Recycling in Australia

Optical by National Pharmacies Pioneers Contact Lens Recycling in Australia

November 16, 2023

Optical by National Pharmacies stores in Adelaide have become the trailblazers in Australia for collecting and recycling contact lens waste from customers. Launched on November 15, the contact lens waste trial aims to divert approximately 230,000 empty disposable contact lens blister cases from ending up in landfills over the next six months.

Building on the success of National Pharmacies' recycling program, which saw the recycling of 3.2 million empty medicine blister packs over the past year, Optical by National Pharmacies is now expanding its efforts to address the environmental impact of contact lens waste. As part of National Recycling Week (November 13-19), the company has partnered with Opticycle for a six-month trial.

During the trial period, customers can deposit their empty disposable contact lens blister cases in collection boxes at 10 Optical by National Pharmacies stores in South Australia. Opticycle will then meticulously separate the cases into plastic and aluminum for repurposing into various building products, including plastic fence posts and wheel stops, as well as in steel production.

Disposable contact lens blister cases, a significant environmental concern, cannot be processed through standard kerbside waste collection. Data from Opticycle reveals that Australian consumers discard an estimated 250 to 500 million disposable contact lens cases annually, with the largest portion being single-use plastic lens cases.

Vito Borrello, Chief Executive Officer of National Pharmacies, expressed pride in Optical by National Pharmacies being at the forefront of addressing the challenge of single-use contact lens waste. He said: “We are proud to be partnering with Opticycle on such a great initiative as we continue to expand our recycling efforts across our optical and pharmacy stores with the encouragement of our members and customers.”

According to Jason Rijnbeek, Business Development Manager at Opticycle, their company stands as the exclusive comprehensive recycling solution for contact lens waste in Australia. “We hope that more partnerships like these will divert many more tonnes of unnecessary plastic and aluminium waste from the environment to make new products as demand for single-use contact lenses across Australia is expected to grow.”