On America Recycles Day (November 15th) the EPA recognizes the importance and impact of recycling. The recycling rate has increased from less than 7% in 1960 to the current rate of 32%. Recycling and reuse activity in the US accounts for 681,000 jobs, $37.8 billion in wages, and 5.5 billion in tax revenues.
Benefits of recycling:
- Reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills and incinerators
- Conserves natural resources
- Increases economic security by tapping a domestic source of materials
- Prevents pollution
- Saves energy
- Conserve valuable resources
- Create new jobs
- Protects habitats
How can we help, when vision correction devices are so important to the quality of life for many?
The materials used to make eyeglasses often do not decompose or would take millions of years to do so in a landfill. Up to 3.6 billion contact lenses are being flushed each year, which translates into 23 metric tons of plastic trash winding up in wastewater. As the lenses break into smaller fragments – micro plastics. The small plastics “escape” our wastewater treatment plants and enter the water stream. Marine life is then mistaking this as food thus introducing micro plastic into the food chain.
One way to help is to donate eyeglasses you no longer need. According to the world health organization, there are over 2 billion people around the world who need glasses but don’t have access to them.
Places to donate old glasses are:
* Lions club-they also accept sunglasses and reading glasses
* One sight
* Eyes of Hope – launched by VSP
* The Lighthouse – they accept all types of glasses and hearing aids also.
* Many retailers and vision centers have drop boxes or trade-in programs
* Salvation Army
Donating and recycling contact lenses and blister packs. You can donate unused, unexpired, and unopen boxes of contact lenses to organizations:
- Goodwill-also unopened and unexpired solutions for contacts
- One-by-one -is a Bausch & Lomb program
- Depending on the recycling rules of your community, you can recycle the blister packs by placing the small blister packs inside a larger recyclable container of the same recycling code number as the small blister packs .
Starting with these small steps we can help reduce waste as more eyeglass manufacturers are making green choices for eyeglass and contact lens wearers. Boxes and solution bottles may also be recyclable.
We do have an eyeglass donation box in our office for those that wish to donate.