Contact Lens Supervisor Kickstarts Innovative Recycling Scheme

Posted on August 14, 2018
Author: Lifeatspecsavers

Whether it’s taking a reusable water bottle into work or investing in a 10p Bag for Life, most of us are doing our bit to live a little greener. However, as good as we try to be, there are always going to be a few areas in life where we struggle to be as eco-friendly as we’d like.

This was Dr Melanie Bigold’s issue when she considered how much plastic her husband was contributing to the household waste every time he popped a new pair of contact lenses in.

Struck by the wastefulness of this necessary, yet plastic-laden, product, Dr Bigold decided to write a letter to her local council to ask if there were any recycling schemes in place for contact lens users. Unfortunately, the council were unable to help and passed Dr Bigold’s request for further information over to the local recycling plant… who were also unable to help.

Concerned that there were apparently no schemes in place, Dr Bigold wrote to her local Specsavers store instead. Expecting to be brushed off once more, Dr Bigold was delighted to receive not only a personal reply to her letter but also a promise from the store staff that they would look into the issue in greater detail.

Hannah Pugh was the Contact Lens Supervisor at the Specsavers store that Dr Bigold contacted and the clinician who took it upon herself to investigate this issue further. Hannah learned that even though Specsavers stores recycle the leftover plastic packaging from used lenses, this isn’t as simple for customers disposing of them at home.

Spurred on by Dr Bigold’s letter, Hannah rang round to try and discover what could be done about the issue. After speaking to numerous stores and companies, Hannah came across TerraCycle, an innovative recycling company that offers a range of options to help people dispose of difficult-to-recycle items.

Keen to support Dr Bigold and Hannah’s initiative, Specsavers Worcester invested in a TerraCycle ‘Contact Lenses and Packaging Zero Waste Box’ to keep in store – the idea being that customers could simply pop into store to dispose of their used lens packaging and the team would then take care of sending it off to be recycled.

After hearing of the store’s considerable efforts to combat the issue she had raised, Dr Bigold had nothing but praise:

‘It’s a huge credit to Specsavers that they have a management structure that allows store staff to put forward and act upon ideas like this, the initiative they have shown is wonderful. Buying a TerraCycle box as a household is expensive, so it’s brilliant that Specsavers will cover this cost.’

Since taking it upon herself to spearhead the Worcester Contact Lens recycling scheme, Supervisor Hannah has championed the movement, even going on to win a thoroughly well-deserved ‘Customer First Award’ for her work. Now Hannah wants to spread the message even further and has high hopes that soon, everyone will be recycling their used contact lenses.

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