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Last year, my (amazing) optometrist, Dr. Teser, recommended that I try switching to daily contacts (the kind you only use for one day). While the idea of having new contacts each day was extremely attractive, especially as a many-allergy sufferer, I was concerned about the environmental impact of generating so much waste with the new contacts and packaging every day.
Initially, I could see that by using new contacts each day, I wouldn’t have to purchase contact solutions or the little storage containers, which reduced the plastic I was using. I was still concerned about all of the little blister packs that the contacts come in and, if I’m being honest, the contact lenses themselves. I would be going from two blister packs and lenses every two to four weeks to two packs and lenses every day.
Where would all of that waste end up?
I didn’t know that according to one study, approximately 8 million tons of trash is dumped into our oceans each year. That’s wild! We use the oceans for so much- vacations, fun afternoons, and as a food source. Why on earth (pun intended) would we dump garbage where we swim and eat from? The most shocking part is that a great deal of that trash is plastic, and I’m sure you’re aware that plastic doesn’t really break down very well.
My decision was made much easier once I learned that there is a partnership between a contact lens manufacturer and TerraCycle. If you don’t know about TerraCycle, they are an organization devoted to reducing waste in our environment through recycling, especially recycling items that are difficult to recycle. Through TerraCycle’s ONE by ONE recycling program, I save all of the little blister packs (the plastic containers my contacts come in), as well as the foil, and the contacts themselves. I pack them all in a box and print a label from TerraCycle (they’re free!) to ship out for recycling. It made my optometrist and me both very happy! I’m over a year into it and I honestly couldn’t be happier with my contact situation. I highly recommend you look into it if you wear contacts!
How do I store all of this stuff?
Once I started using the dailies, I realized that I had a little bit of a bathroom issue. I didn’t want to have to dig around for the contact packages each day (morning is not the time when I’m my ‘best self’) but I also didn’t want the boxes just sitting out. I ended up going to TJ Maxx and finding a super cute glass container. It’s about 18″ tall and holds approximately 2 months worth of contacts. When it’s empty, I break up the strips of five contacts into individuals, which makes it easier for me to grab out two each morning. I fill up the container and we’re good for a pretty long time. It doesn’t take long, maybe 2-3 minutes to fill up.
I loved the pattern on this container- it reminded me of swiss dot fabric and since our bathroom doesn’t have a cohesive style character quite yet (it’s coming…someday), it fit in perfectly.
I made a really simple bag that I hung on the back of the bathroom door with a command hook for the empties, but for a long time, I just had a reusable shopping bag hung on the doorknob. Both solutions work well- I was just getting tired of the bag swinging around every time the door got shut…which is every night- the sun rises through one of the bathroom windows and it’s way too bright for me!
What storage dilemmas do you have in your bathroom?
I’ve never thought about using dailies before, but you are totally right about them being better for those with allergies. I definitely need to get my husband to check them out. We recycle EVERYTHING in our house, and I love the idea of the little (cute) recycling container for your blister packs – genius!
Meg, Borrowed Heaven
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