How to choose your eyewear
with the planet in mind

From our food to our clothes and beauty products, going green is on everybody’s agenda right now. With the world of beauty working to be more eco-conscious and zero-waste routines making the rounds on the internet, consumers are calling for more industries to examine their relationship with the planet.

But what about your eyewear? Are there alternative choices that allow you to see clearly while helping to do your bit for the environment? The answer is yes, and with the help of Boots Opticians, here’s a rundown of all you need to know.

What’s the problem with eyewear and the environment? 

While there’s questions over the eco-friendliness of glass (some claim glass is a sustainable, fully-recyclable material, while others argue the use of non-renewable natural materials and Co2 emissions are damaging), there are opportunities for the industry to do more when it comes to the use of plastics.

Used to craft frames, disposable contact lenses and single-use packaging, these plastics can later end up in landfill where they can take up to 500 years to decompose (and leak toxic pollutants into the ground in the meantime). If thrown down the drain, plastic lenses can break down into smaller particles to form microplastics that pollute the oceans.

Luckily, the industry has already begun to address this issue and now offer more eco-conscious alternatives and planet-friendly solutions to disposing of old eyewear.

How can I make more sustainable choices?

Firstly, investing in good quality, stylish frames that you enjoy wearing (and that make you feel good!) is a great step forward to minimising waste - think more frames on the face, less in landfill! Many brands now also produce frames made from recycled and recyclable materials and bio-based plastics which will also help reduce your plastic consumption.

You can also look for contact lens recycling schemes or brands that offer more eco-conscious solutions for their packaging. 

Want to know more? Boots Opticians have a great range of frames, contact lenses and accessories that keep an extra eye out for the planet: 

Stylish, eco-conscious frames

• Stylish frames available in on trend colours and shapes

• Made from materials that are recycled/recyclable or come from natural and sustainable sources

• Recycle your old glasses with BOTANIQ® and Terracycle® Zero Waste Box™

The BOTANIQ® eyewear range is designed with the planet in mind, offering frames made from materials that are either recycled or recyclable, or that come from natural and sustainable sources – this includes wood, cork, bamboo, bio-based acetate and 60% recycled stainless steel.

Once you have finished with your old frames you can give them a second life by returning them to BOTANIQ® who are working with TerraCycle® and their Zero Waste Box Scheme™ to be recycled or reused. 

BOTANIQ® have also partnered with One Tree Planted who will plant a new tree for every BOTANIQ® frame sold.

Recycle your contact lenses

• Since January 2019, Boots Opticians have collected and recycled an estimated 5.2m contact lenses, blister packs and foil covers in the ACUVUE® Contact Lens Recycling Programme

• In 2021 they recycled more than 2.2m contact lenses, diverting 12 tons of waste from landfill

This year Boots Opticians have partnered with ACUVUE® and TerraCycle® Zero Waste Boxes™ to increase recycling capacity by 25%, which would equate to a total of around 2.5m contact lenses! A Zero Waste Box™ is a complete and convenient solution to store, ship and recycle your contact lenses, blister packs and foil covers. You can find a Zero Waste Box™ in all Boots Opticians stores where you can dispose of your used contact lenses, blister packs, and foil covers, making it easy for you to play your part. 

Choose plastic neutral contact lenses

• Boots 1-day* and MiSight 1-day contact lenses are now certified plastic neutral by Plastic Bank

Keeping plastics out of the ocean may be a particular concern if you’re a regular contact lens wearer. Credits are purchased equal to the weight of plastic used in our Boots 1-day* and MiSight® 1-day contact lenses, the blister pack and the outer carton,** so an equal amount of plastic can be collected by Plastic Bank to help prevent it from reaching the ocean. They expect to direct 890,000 plastic bottles from Boots 1-day and MiSight contact lenses alone from reaching the ocean this year!

Reduced packaging waste

• 80% less waste compared to conventional packaging

• Eight-times thinner than a standard lens pack

The Menicon Miru 1-day flat pack is a daily disposable hydrogel contact lens that has many fantastic features designed with the wearer and environment in mind. Not only does the unique packaging use 99% recycled plastics, but it’s ultra-slim and lightweight too. Thanks to innovative design, you’ll only need to touch the outer surface of the lens, meaning the risk of contamination is also three-times lower. 

Boots Opticians Glasses Case & Lens Cloth

• Made from 100% recycled material

When you buy a pair of Boots brand frames, you'll also receive a slim-line case and lens cloth crafted from 100% recycled material, which has replaced the 20,000 square metres of polyester that was previously used. The case is not only compact, but is produced in three sizes and in flat form, meaning they occupy approximately 30% of the space of a standard clamshell case, for more efficient transportation and storage. This helps us reduce carbon emissions thanks to more efficient transportation and storage.  

*Excludes Boots Protect Plus & Boots Protect products.

**Plastic neutrality is established by purchasing credits from Plastic Bank. A credit represents the collection and conversion of one kilogram of plastic that may reach or bedestined for waterways. CooperVision purchases credits equal to the weight of plastic in our-one day contact lens orders in a specified time period. One-day contact lensplastic is determined by the weight of plastic in the blister, the lens and the secondary (outer) package, including laminates, adhesives, and auxiliary inputs (e.g. ink).