People who require vision correction may not stop and think about the environmental impact of their choices. Some people prefer contact lenses over eyeglasses because they are less bulky. Other people prefer not to hassle with lens cases, soaking solutions and remembering when to replace their disposable contacts. When basing their decision on its impact on the planet, is there a clear choice?
Because contacts and eyeglasses are both so small, it is difficult to imagine either having a significant negative effect on the environment. However, the manufacture of poly carbonate, a material often used to make eyeglass lenses, requires the use of toxic chemicals. Contact lenses are sold in blister packs that are also often packaged in cardboard packages. Contact lens users may go through up to 15 12-ounce bottles of solution per year. With more than 100 million people in the world using contact lenses, that is a lot of waste.
The amount of lens solution required depends on the type of lenses. Daily use contact lens wearers are less likely to go through several bottles of solution per year, but they will discard more packaging than wearers who change their contacts less often. When it comes to glasses, frame-less styles use less raw material.
Regardless of the type of lens used, wearers can help save the planet by recycling as much as possible. In many countries, glasses can be recycled through a variety of organizations. Recycling options are also available for the cardboard and plastic packaging that houses contact lenses. Recyclerfinder ( http://www.recyclerfinder.com ) can help lens wearers find local facilities to recycle their eye wear so they can help the environment and produce less waste.