One year after CooperVision established the first plastic neutral contact lens through a trailblazing partnership with Plastic Bank® the program has made a significant environmental and social impact worldwide:
- The equivalent of nearly 28 million plastic bottles have been prevented from polluting the oceans.
- Collectors representing 171 unique coastal communities have directly benefited from the CooperVision program. These individuals exchanged ocean-bound plastic for necessities such as clean water, groceries, school tuition, and even health insurance through the program which emphasizes both environmental and social impact equally.1
CooperVision’s partnership with Plastic Bank, a social enterprise that builds ethical recycling ecosystems in coastal communities and reprocesses the materials for reintroduction into the global supply chain, is the largest plastic neutrality initiative in the contact lens industry. Currently, 18 CooperVision subsidiaries in Europe and North America are participating with nine more in Asia, South America, and Europe slated to join this year. With this expanded scale, the program is expected to prevent the equivalent of nearly 90 million plastic bottles from reaching oceans in 2022—more than three times the amount collected in 2021.
CooperVision’s plastic neutrality initiative, while unprecedented, is one of many milestones in the organization’s journey to ever-greater sustainability. The company envisions a world where plastics are responsibly used, recovered, and reborn in perpetuity—and is taking steps to get there.
“We are constantly striving to identify novel solutions that not only address key sustainability challenges but also create new opportunities,” said Dan McBride, Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer of CooperCompanies. “By reexamining our relationship with plastic, we can help protect the world’s oceans and transform waste into a resource.”
“There is no single approach that achieves sustainability, so we need to manage plastic use on many fronts,” McBride continued. “There is no finish line either, so we invite contact lens wearers and the rest of the eye care industry to join us.”
1. 27,551,500 bottles prevented; 551,030 kg extracted; 171 communities impacted; 1,421 people impacted. “CooperVision’s Impact,” verified January 10, 2022.