How to Dispose of Contact Lenses Properly

Contact lenses need to be handled with care because of their potential to harm your eyes and skin.

They’re also delicate, and they must be disposed of properly. Fortunately, there are simple ways to disinfect them and prevent them from entering the environment.

So, how do you dispose of contact lenses properly? Contact lenses are medical devices that are supposed to stay clean and dry at all times.

However, studies have shown that contact lenses are a source of infection, due to improper cleaning and storage. This is especially true for disposable contact lenses, which are intended to be used for a limited period of time and then thrown away.

If you’re unsure about how to properly dispose of your contacts, keep reading on the steps to follow.

Let’s start now.

How to Properly Dispose of Contact Lenses

Contact lenses are one of the most popular forms of eye wear around the world. They are convenient, comfortable, and portable.

However, improper disposal of contact lenses can cause harm to your eyes as well as the environment. Here are some tips on how to properly dispose of contact lenses:

Recycle Contact Lenses

You can recycle old contact lenses by dropping them off at an eyeglass store or your local drugstore. These stores usually accept used contact lenses, which are cleaned and sanitized before being resold.

Put Your Contact Lenses in Solution

Make sure you store your lenses in solution when you’re not wearing them. This keeps them moist and clean. Leftover solution can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days.

Once you’re ready to dispose of your lenses, empty the solution out of the lens case and dispose of it properly at a nearby hazardous waste facility.

Discard Your Lenses

Remember to always discard your lenses properly. Never throw them away in your household trash can because chemicals can leach out of them and harm the environment.

You can use a special contact lens case to dispose of your lenses, which you can do at eyeglass stores or your local drugstore.

How to Recycle Contact Lenses

Unfortunately, contact lenses generate a lot of waste when they are discarded improperly into the environment.

Because they are so little, recycling facilities are unable to recycle them. Apart from being too small to be collected and processed by recycling facilities, they also can stick to other waste, which prevents them from being recycled properly too.

Some manufacturers of contact lenses also encourage consumers to “recycle” their contact lenses by turning them in for a discount on the purchase of a new pair. However, this is completely inadequate recycling because reused disposable contacts are prone to infection due to their lack of cleanliness.

Some businesses are collaborating to collect used disposable contacts from individuals so that these can be donated to people in need in developing countries who cannot afford new contacts.

Check with your local recycling facilities; you may be surprised at what can be recycled.

How to Dispose of Contact Lens Packaging Correctly

Contact lenses are a popular option for those who cannot wear glasses or contacts. However, properly disposing them is critical to avoid contaminating the earth’s ecosystem.

Improperly disposed lenses can end up on the ocean floor, causing damage to the water organisms that live there.

It is important to learn how to properly dispose of your lenses.

Keep your contact lenses in their original container until you have finished using them. If you accidentally touch or handle a lens, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.

Throw away any lens that has been left lying around for more than three months.

Clean the lenses by rinsing them in solution or rewetting drops and then air drying them. Ensure that they are stored in the original container.

Throw away the contact lenses with left over solution or rewetting drops.

Throw away your lens case after 6 months.

Also Read: Can You Recycle Fiberglass?


Despite their popularity and advantages over spectacles, contact lenses do require proper disposal in order to protect the environment.

Tossing contact lenses in a normal trash can is not adequate because these can be easily contaminated by other trash and cause irreversible damage to the environment.

However, as more studies have shown the quantity of waste generated by disposable contact lenses, more and more businesses and industries are collaborating to find better ways to reduce that waste.

Contact lens recycling programs are available in many areas of the United States and in other countries as well.

Check your local resources for locations in your area where you can donate used disposable contacts to a needy person.

You can help by learning how to recycle correctly and not throwing them away in the trash when you are done with them.