If you wear contact lenses, then you know that you need to have a case to store them in when you’re not wearing them – and if you’re like most people, you just toss your old case in the trash when it’s time to get a new one. But did you know that there are ways to recycle your old contact lens cases? Read on to find out how!
What You'll Learn Today
Should You Throw Away Contact Cases?
Don’t throw away your old contact lens cases! There are lots of ways to recycle them instead of tossing them in the trash.
First, know that you can usually put contact lens cases in the recycling. YOu can recycle them along with other kinds of household plastic waste. That includes plastic bottles containing your contact solution. Just double-check with your recycling program to make sure these are accepted – but in most cases, they are.
There are also ways you can repurpose old contact lens cases so that you don’t have to get rid of them. You just need to get creative! More on this later.
What Do You Do With Old Contact Cases?
Experts recommend that you change contact lens cases every three months. While this isn’t as often as you’ll need to change your contacts themselves, failure to replace your cases on time has been connected to serious eye infections.
It’s simple. Your contact lens case becomes contaminated with loads of germs over time. You can’t see these bacteria but they can cause dangerous infections if they get into your eyes. The problem is compounded if you’re not careful about regularly cleaning your contact lens case – or about washing your hands before you handle your lenses.
Replacing your contact lens case on a regular basis is important. You can’t keep the same case forever – but there are ways to stop the plastic case from ending up in the landfill. Keep reading to learn more!
Can You Clean and Reuse Contact Cases?
You can sterilize your contact lens cases for reuse. They’re made of plastic, so if you do this properly, you can use your contact lens cases indefinitely.
Note that this does not apply to the lenses themselves. These are going directly in your eyes and although there are sanitation measures you should follow each time you take the lenses out, they’ll only last for just so long.
Clean your contact lens case on a daily basis. Also, each time you take your contacts out, empty the case completely. Don’t leave any old solution at the bottom. Once you’ve used the solution, it is no longer sterile and can develop bacteria.
To clean your contact lens case, squirt a small amount of multipurpose solution into the case. Remove any deposits with your finger. Make sure you clean the caps, too.
For a deeper clean, rinse the case with scalding water. Once clean and dry, recoat the inside with your contact lens cleaning solution.
Here’s a video with more information on how to clean your contact lenses and contact lens case:
Can You Recycle Contact Lenses Cases?
You can recycle contact lens cases, as we mentioned earlier in this post.
However, you can also “upcycle” your contact lens case.
One fun way to reuse your case is to use it as a pill container. You can keep two different kinds of pills in one container and use it as a travel pack for when you’re on the road.
You could also use it for the day-to-day management of medications you need to take. Just be careful to label the case so you know what medication is inside. Also, know that contact lens cases are not childproof – so you’ll want to keep them away from kids.
Another great use for old contact lens cases is to use them as a jewelry holder when you travel. Putting your necklaces in your case can prevent them from becoming tangled. They’ll also keep your jewelry safe and dry.
You could use contact lens cases as a single-use condiment holder. Bring your favorite mayonnaise or ketchup with you on the go – nobody will be the wiser! These cases also work well as single-use cosmetic holders. From eye cream to concealer, these handy containers can hold it all.
Some other fun ways to upcycle a contact lens case include:
- Craft materials (like beads and threads)
- Mouthwash holder
- Headphone storage case
- Fake eyelash storage
- Spice or herb storage
…and much more! Get creative and you’ll likely find that you don’t want to throw out your old contact lens cases simply because you have so many fun ideas of what to do with them next!
Can You Recycle Contact Lens Blister Packs?
An easy way to recycle old contact lens blister packs is to put them inside plastic bottles. Remove the foil then slide them inside. That way, they’ll be recycled along with the plastic bottles when you put them in the recycling bin.
Can You Recycle Contact Lenses?
We all know that you shouldn’t wear contact lenses for a longer period of time than what’s recommended by the manufacturer. For some contacts, that means popping in a fresh pair every two weeks. For others, you need to swap them out each day.
You can’t rewear your contact lenses past this period – but can you recycle them?
Many people throw their contact lenses down the toilet or wash them down the sink. That’s not a great idea. Although one contact lens is small, if everybody does this it could result in tons of plastic trash winding up in the water. They don’t biodegrade easily so you shouldn’t mix them in with the rest of your trash.
That said, you can’t necessarily put contact lenses in the recycling bin, either. So what should you do?
Most contact lens manufacturers, including Bausch + Lomb, work with specialized recycling facilities. TerraCycle is one such facility, meant to get rid of hard-to-recycle waste for consumers.
You can take your contact lenses to a local eye doctor’s office that participates in a contact lean recycling program. You can also ship your old lenses directly to TerraCycle (just put them in a sealed cardboard box).
This is also a great way to recycle old blister packs and blister pack foil. The metal layer of the blister pack will be recycled and all the plastic components (including the lens and plastic portions of the blister pack) will be melted into plastic that can be remolded to make other products.
Recycle Your Contact Lens Cases Today
If you’re looking for an easy way to do your part in helping the environment, start by recycling your contact lens cases. It’s a small change that can make a big impact. Anybody can see that!