ReNu Contact Lens Solution

When it comes to the green revolution, function and design are becoming more entwined. No longer do we have to make the choice between beauty and eco-friendliness; designers now consider the environment when creating products that will appeal to consumers. But what about those everyday items? You know, the ones that are functional, eco-friendly or beautifully designed, but rarely all three? Contact lens solutions, for instance.

For many of us, wearing contacts is a daily must and with this comes a lineup of contact care products that are not always easy on the environment. So when we stumbled upon a lens solution whose packaging was different we took a look to see if it was better for the planet.

Company: Bausch + Lomb

Item(s) tested: ReNu Fresh lens care (355mL for $8.99)

Where can the item be purchased? Starting in the fall of 2010 (in Canada and the U.S.), on the shelf at major food and drug retailers.

The claim of the product: “The updated ReNu Fresh bottle is not just easy on the eyes; it’s also good for the planet. Ditching the colorant used in most other bottles, the clear PET design is completely recyclable — making it the perfect solution for any eco-minded lens wearer.”

What was great about the product: 

  • The clear PET (number 1) packaging is 100% recyclable, from bottle to cap. 
  • The clear PET plastic allows this bottle to have more use in its post-recycled life because there is a higher demand for the clear recycled plastic than colored plastic. Higher demand at the end of the recycling loop means this type of plastic has a higher value and will be recycled in more locations. The previous bottle was made with #2 HDPE (high-density polyethylene), which was harder to recycle. 
  • The paper insert that normally comes inside the box has been eliminated — the information is now printed on the inside of the box itself. 
  • The box is 100% recyclable. 
  • The solution has not changed; it is exactly what you would expect from the brand, just in a more eco container. We checked with the EWG on their ranking of the product — they give it a 4 out of 10 mostly for its use of boric acid. 
  • The clear bottle helped us see when we were running low on solution.

What was NOT so great about the product: 

  • The packaging is a great improvement when it comes to this category of product, however we would like to see the solution itself to use a safer recipe. 
  • It would be great if the plastic used was 100% post-consumer versus new. 
  • We would like to see the box made of 100% post-consumer paper. 
  • The label was not made of eco-friendly paper or ink — though it can be recycled with the bottle.

Grade from Green Living: B – (This is not a product that shouts to the world that it is green, rather it is a product that is taking the environment into account as it moves forward. We would like to see all of the Bausch + Lomb products take on this packaging philosophy. There are other lens solutions that have “safer” ingredients but they do not have the innovative waste reducing packaging that this product does.)