Pop quiz: you just took out your contact lenses and are ready to dispose of them. Where do you put them, in the nice little trash can, or the toilet? If you said toilet then you need to stop. The toilet is not a trash can, so if it’s trash, don’t put it in there. And yes, that includes contacts, floss, and even “Flushable” wipes.
How Many People Do This?
There’s about 45 million people in the US who wear contact lenses, and of those people 20% admitted in a recent study that they flush their contacts down the toilet. That’s 9 million people flushing their contacts, not even counting those who lied about it in the survey to hide their shame.
What’s The Big Deal?
I know, a pair of contacts doesn’t seem like much. What harm can it do? It’s like complaining about a single fly in a diner. Well imagine 9 million flies in that diner and you would probably start complaining! The best case scenario is that the contacts travel down the pipes and get removed at the water treatment plant and thrown out by them. Save the taxpayer some money and cut out the middleman, throw them out yourself. If everything doesn’t go according to plan the contacts can get stuck in your pipe and cause a clog or they could find their way through the filtration and end up in our rivers and lakes, joining the 6-10 metric tons of other contacts in our water. They don’t decompose, they don’t help the environment, they just float around and get eaten by some poor animal.
“Don’t make me eat your contacts!” – this otter
What Can I Do?
This is an easy one. Throw your contacts in the trash. Water treatment plants are not designed to handle trash like that and neither is our environment. It may seem insignificant at the time, but together we can make a big difference, for better or for worse.
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