Plastic plays a vital role in the sterile production, delivery, and storage of CooperVision’s contact lenses. So in 2021, the company teamed up with Plastic Bank to offset the use of plastic in its medical packaging and further its commitment to sustainable practices.
According to the agreement, for every box of clariti 1 day lenses distributed in the United States, CooperVision will fund the collection, processing, and reuse of general plastic waste equal to the weight of plastic in the lenses and packaging.
Currently, 18 CooperVision subsidiaries are participating in the program with nine more slated to join this year. Last year, the partnership diverted the equivalent of nearly 28 million plastic bottles from the oceans. The company declined to divulge how much money this investment represents.
“Plastic neutrality is one way that CooperVision is managing sustainability today while we work on the innovations of tomorrow, which include exploring alternative materials, resources, and processes to continue making a positive impact,” says Melissa Kiewe, vice president of marketing – North America. “Our contributions also help improve the communities in which plastics are collected.”
Plastic Bank builds ethical recycling ecosystems in coastal communities and reprocesses the materials for reintegration into products and packaging. Collectors receive a premium for the materials they collect, which helps them provide basic necessities, such as groceries, cooking fuel, school tuition, and health insurance.
“There is an ever-increasing value placed on sustainable practices by the eyecare community and consumers alike,” says Kiewe. “We’re looking forward to continued enthusiasm as the program expands in 2022, placing us on track to collect for reuse three times the volume of plastic compared to 2021.”
CooperVision’s plastic-neutral contact lens program is one of many ongoing initiatives aimed at reducing the company’s carbon footprint.