Maybe you’ve recently gone to your favorite coffee shop and realized the once offered plastic straws are now paper or that they’ve been replaced with a lid that eliminates the need for a straw altogether. This is just one of many corporate initiatives happening globally in an effort to achieve a more sustainable planet. The awareness and efforts to cut back on waste, especially plastics, in consumer products is more prevalent than ever.
The Impact of Contact Lens Wear on the Environment
It is estimated that there are 140 million contact lens wearers worldwide with over a third of those wearers residing in the US.  Of those wearers, approximately 43% wear daily disposable lenes.  Since their introduction in 1997, daily disposable lenses have been chosen for their convenience and the health benefits associated with wearing a fresh lens every day. However, as the daily disposable segment for lens wear grows, so does the concern for the environmental footprint of this modality. A study examining the annualized waste of daily disposable lenses vs monthly replacement lenses concluded that full-time daily replacement wearers generated 27% more waste compared to monthly wearers.  While many may expect this figure to be higher, a monthly lens wearer generates a considerable amount of waste from the lens care solutions required to clean their lenses.
Miru 1day Menicon Flat Pack
In 2011, Menicon launched a contact lens that would combat some of the pushback received based on the perceived and proven environmental impact of daily disposable lens wear. Miru 1day Flat Pack is innovatively packaged in a 1.5mm thin foil on foil pack and uses 80% less plastic compared to the average conventional blister pack. The secondary packaging is produced by reusing 100% of plastics procured in the contact lens manufacturing process. Comparatively, an annual supply (720 lenses) of lenses packaged in the flat pack generates five times less waste than those packaged in a conventional blister pack. For just over a decade, Miru 1day Flat Pack wearers have benefited from the health and convenience of a daily disposable in good conscience to the environment.
Menicon’s Commitment to a More Sustainable Future
Menicon’s commitment to a better society and sustainable future does not stop with the flat pack; our sustainability efforts are focused on making our product development and manufacturing facilities more environmentally friendly. Our corporate philosophy is to be a global enterprise that is friendly to people, animals and the environment. We strive each day to honor that philosophy by making substantial contributions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Our environmental actions span outside of products and manufacturing plants and include several conservation activities targeted to create a better society. Since 2009, Menicon has participated annually in the “Tree Planting Festival”, a forest development project sponsored by the city of Nagoya, Japan. In that first year, Menicon planted 500 seedlings as a contribution to reforestation which marked the start of Menicon’s Eco-Green Campaign. These efforts continued throughout the years and in 2019, Menicon SAS in France, held a reforestation campaign which planted approximately 2,000 trees across Europe, Brazil and Africa.
Menicon’s Declaration on the Environment
Achieving a more sustainable planet must be an ongoing and collaborative effort. We will continue our contributions to the environment and as stated in our Declaration on the Environment, we promise, “As part of our dream to repay the entire Earth with the technology and wisdom we possess, we intend to devote all efforts to activities that include a new focus on ecology.”
Visit our websites and learn more about our sustainability actions:
Pucker, A. D., & Tichenor, A. A. (2020). A Review of Contact Lens Dropout. Clinical Optometry, Volume 12, 85–94. https://doi.org/10.2147/opto.s198637
Nichols, J., & Starcher, L. (2022, January). Contact Lenses 2021 - Annual Report. Contact Lens Spectrum. https://digital.clspectrum.com/publication/?i=732868&ver=html5&p=26
Smith, S. L., Orsborn, G. N., Sulley, A., Chatterjee, N. B., & Morgan, P. B. (2021). An investigation into disposal and recycling options for daily disposable and monthly replacement soft contact lens modalities. Contact Lens and Anterior Eye, 101435. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clae.2021.03.002
Menicon America, Marketing Manager
Toni Vadala has been with Menicon America for 10 years.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from and a master’s in business administration. She has a passion for graphic design and has recently become more involved with Menicon America’s social media and digital marketing activities.