Life

Simple Changes: Contact Lens Disposal

Nope, don't stop wearing them, just don't flush them

How many of you wear contact lenses? *hand raise* They are magical, they help you see clearly, and you don't have to deal with the myriad of difficulties of wearing glasses (see steamy glasses and the need for the invention of nerdwax). But, one thing's for sure about contacts, they have more things involved than glasses. Either, everyday you are opening a new pair, or you are constantly using bottles of solution to clean them and protect them overnight.


Contact lense wearers also know that you have to be careful and stay on top of when it's time for a new pair. That also means tossing the old pair. For a lot of people, that means flushing your lenses either down the drain or in the toilet at night and opening a new pair in the next morning. You might think "they are so tiny, how much harm can flushing them really cause?" but if everyone who wears contacts has that same thought, it can amount to a lot of small pieces of contact lenses in waterways - it all adds up to about 20 tons of plastic a year from the US alone (1). And new research found that once those contact lenses end up in the water treatment plants the chemicals used to treat the water cause the contacts to degrade and turn into microplastics (2). Science is showing that microplastics are ending up everywhere, including in fish and even human guts. While this in itself isn't great, there is also research showing that microplastics are good at absorbing other chemicals that might end up in the water around them, making them even more dangerous (and gross) than just being small pieces of plastic.

All of those might sounds like bad things, BUT, there's an easy solution that can keep contacts from adding to the microplastic problem! Instead of flushing your contacts down the sink or toilet, put them in a trashcan. Even better, Bausch + Lomb has teamed up with Terracycle to be able to recycle contact lenses and the blister packs they are packaged in (3). So, alternatively, you can keep a small cardboard box (you know, from any of those late night Amazon purchases) in your bathroom and just toss old contacts and the blister packs they come in into that box. When it is full, go to Baush + Lomb One by One recycle program page and print out a free shipping label to recycle it. It's that easy! Side note: while it's hosted by Baush + Lomb, they will accept any and all contact lens brands.

Sometimes all it takes is a heads up to realize something that seems like a no brainer (like flushing your contacts) can have some less than ideal side effects (like creating microplastics in our waterways). But, with a super simple change in your routine, tossing contacts in a cardboard box instead of the sink or toilet, you can make a big difference. What are you waiting for? Go tell all your contact wearing friends about how they can save the oceans and improve their health with one simple change.

References

  1. https://www.ibtimes.com/used-contact-lenses-adding-tons-micro-plastic-waste-waterways-2709869
  2. https://plan.core-apps.com/acsboston18/abstract/28f9ab41-837f-46ef-8655-feb59aa75cb3
  3. https://www.terracycle.com/en-US/brigades/bauschrecycles
Roundups

12 Essentials for Packing a Plastic Free Lunch

our favorite reusable items for packing lunch for the kids (and yourself!)

As all the kids are going back to school, it's time to get ready to start getting creative when it comes to packing lunches. While plastic sandwich bags may be convenient, they aren't the healthiest and are only adding to the plastic problem in our oceans. Instead, stock up on some of these lunchbox essentials. They are reusable, washable, and healthier than a bag full of plastic containers. We also have a roundup of general food storage containers you might want to check out.

Keep Reading Show Less
Want more news like this?
Sign up to receive our email newsletter and never miss an update!
By submitting above, you agree to our privacy policy.
/ SOCIAL

Everyone has their favorite water bottle - a Camelbak with the chewy straw, or a new shiny S'well bottle, or the Hydroflask that keeps your drink icy for days. And, we know that reusable plastic water bottles have some perks- lightweight, see through, indestructible- but they also have one big drawback, the plastic. Plastics, even ones that are BPA free, are often made of chemicals that can seep into water and affect your health. So, that's where this big question comes into play. Do I have to (or should I) ditch my beloved Nalgene with all my stickers from travels throughout the years?

Our answer is - you don't have to pitch it, but it probably shouldn't be your primary bottle either. You can stop reading here and check our our roundup of a dozen glass and stainless steel reusable water bottles if that's enough info for you, or you can keep reading and well give you some tips and nuggets of info on why those tips will make a difference.

Keep Reading Show Less
Roundups

A Dozen Reusable Water Bottles

Our top picks for glass and stainless steel water bottles

If you've made it here, you probably already know that bottled water isn't great. Plastic in general can also be tough because of the ever popular BPA and it's sister chemicals. So, we collected 12 of our favorite plastic-free, reusable water bottles so you don't have to go hunting. Many of these brands make many types of bottle and cups. Feel free to poke around to find a size or shape that might work better for you, but keep in mind always go for glass or stainless steel. That assures that even if the plastic bottles are BPA free, you won't have to worry about BPA replacements. It's often tough to find bottles without plastic lids, but if the water isn't constantly touching the lid, a plastic lid usually isn't something to get too worried about.

If you have some old plastic reusable water bottles kicking around (who doesn't!) then check out our advice about how to use them safely.

Keep Reading Show Less
Science

Having Trouble Keeping a Healthy Weight?

Here's why chemicals might be keeping you from shedding those last few pounds

If you're eating healthy, getting lots of sleep, but just can't seem to hit a healthy weight, it might be something you've never thought about. Obesogens, a term coined in 2006 to refer to chemicals that cause us to gain and hold on to weight, and can influence weight loss. Now, we know that maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle is influenced by what seems like a bajillion factors, and is a complicated issue with no easy solution. But, it looks like obesogens are a piece of the puzzle and definitely something you want to be aware about. Data shows that obesity is an increasing problem. Over one-third of both adults and children in the U.S. are obese or overweight (1, 5). Even for people who regularly work out or have superhuman strength to say no to desserts, obesogens are having an impact. Unfortunately, as obesogen research is in its early stages, we still don't know everything about these chemicals and how they affect weight gain, but as of now, here's what we do know.

Keep Reading Show Less

Cleaning is important, you should definitely do it. While it can be a not very fun chore, unless you relate to Monica on a spiritual level, it really is something that should be done regularly. Besides germs, cleaning removes all the yucky (and potentially chemically laden) dust and dirt that can collect in your home over time. While it might seem like you should also disinfect your surfaces when you clean to kill any crazy germs that might be hanging out, it's not as necessary as you might think. And, using a strong, commercial disinfectant is definitely not needed or advised. Do you really want to use something all over your home that comes with a huge caution or warning sign on it?

Keep Reading Show Less
Life

Gifts! Gifts! Gifts!

Plastic-free, zero waste, and full of heart

As the holidays start to sneak up on us, we have been pulling together some of our favorite homemade gifts. All of which happen to be plastic-free, zero waste, edible (because food!). Bonus, they are all delicious and help cut down on both the plastic you and your loved ones are exposed to, plus how much ends up in the environment. Not to mention they look really awesome and a homemade gift is a unique way to show you really care. One more benefit, you can pull them together super last minute, get pretty much everything you need at the grocery store (most of it in bulk even) and avoid the heinous parking scene at the mall.

Keep Reading Show Less
Family

Non-Toxic Bassinets and Cosleepers

All well-reviewed and safe for your newborn to sleep in all night (or day) long

*whispers* The baby's asleep! *silent celebrating* And, while the baby is snoozing away, you can actually eat some food and shower. While getting the baby to sleep can be a bit of a headache, figuring out where you will be gently laying them down in the first few months once they are asleep shouldn't be. So, we did all of the hair pulling research to narrow it down to a selection of 8 non-toxic bassinets and cosleepers that parents and experts agree are great options. Without further ado, here are the top picks.

Keep Reading Show Less
Want more news like this?
Sign up to receive our email newsletter and never miss an update!
By submitting above, you agree to our privacy policy.
/ SOCIAL