We’ve all seen how harmful plastic bags and straws are to the ocean, but what about other plastic items like your contact lens? It turns out that a lot of people are flushing them down the toilet instead of properly disposing of them. And, it’s having a negative impact on ocean ecosystems — and on people’s health by extension.
The Hard Statistics
The number of plastic lenses that gets flushed down the toilet and into the ocean is staggering. A study presented at Arizona State University estimates that 50,000 pounds of plastic from the 14 billion contact lenses used in the U.S. every year ends up in the sewers.
There’s still no figure on how much of this plastic ends up in the ocean. But since a significant portion of the plastic waste fragments into a thousand tiny pieces, it will be hard to get an accurate figure. And, if they do make it past the sewage treatment facilities’ filters and into the ocean, the shredded plastic lens will contribute to the 269,000 tons of microplastics already floating in the world’s oceans.
The next time you get new contact lenses from your local eye doctor, you may want to remember this: there’s a chance those microplastics will absorb pollutants from the ocean and get eaten by fish, which may end up on your plate one day.
Beyond caring for the environment, disposing of your plastic waste properly is a way of safeguarding your health.
The Proper Disposal of Plastic Contact Lenses
You can start caring for the environment by properly disposing of your contact lenses. Instead of flushing them down the toilet, dispose of them in solid waste bins. If you want to take it even further, you can switch to using lenses that can last for a month.
Advanced Eyecare Consultants, a top eye doctor in the state, offers prescription lenses as well as a wide range of eye care services. To set up an appointment with one of our eye specialists, call (847) 550-3524 or (847) 979-4601. We serve homeowners in Gurnee and Vernon Hills, IL.