Johnson & Johnson Vision is launching the U.K.'s first free nationwide recycling program for all contact lenses. The program, available for all soft contact lens wearers regardless of the brand of their lenses, enables consumers to recycle their lenses as well as the blister and foil packaging. Out of 3.7 million contact wearers in the U.K., 20 percent of wearers reported that they dispose of their lenses by flushing them down the toilet or the sink. The new program is supposed to provide a practical alternative to this habit, thereby reducing plastic waste in landfills and waterways.

In practical terms, consumers will have the option of either having their materials collected from home via courier collection, or dropping them in one of the recycling bins available at public drop-off locations at optical stores across the U.K. The program is now rolling out in Boots Opticians and select independent practices. Johnson & Johnson Vision is collaborating with TerraCycle, a specialist in the collection and reuse of non-recyclable post-consumer waste, to run the program.

Bausch+Lomb also collaborates with TerraCycle on a similar contact lens recycling scheme in the U.S. The program is called One by One. Like Johnson & Johnson Vision's program, the One by One scheme also allows consumers to recycle any brand of contact lenses through the program.