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Three people collecting plastic on beach

Turning Plastic Waste into Worth

Alcon’s partnership with Plastic Bank1 captures plastics waste bound for our vital oceans—creating value for collection community members and offsetting plastic introduced in the marketplace for select Alcon products.

Ever since humans began manipulating polymers to create synthetic plastics, our lives and economies have depended on this adaptable and ubiquitous material. In fact, from 1950 to 2018, National Geographic estimated that nearly 9.2 billion tons of man-made plastics were produced, 40% of which was single-use.2 Think: straws, bottles, and plastic bags — products that are often discarded after first use.

When we consider the lifecycle of a single piece of plastic, one of the worst cases is when that plastic is immediately discarded into a landfill — where it could take up to 450 years to decompose3 — or potentially headed into the ocean, where it poses a threat to our already fragile natural ecosystems, wildlife, and climate.

Woman holding bag of plastic collected from beach

But what if we could intercept that piece of plastic before it reaches the shores? Better yet? What if we could also create an entire ecosystem of value for every person who helps give that piece of plastic a second, third or infinite number of new lives?

That’s exactly what Alcon has partnered with Plastic Bank1 to do.

As part of our commitment to helping build a better, brighter, more sustainable future for our planet and its people, Alcon has teamed up with one of the planet’s foremost organizations in fighting against ocean-bound plastic.

Plastic Bank works with the world’s most progressive companies in stewarding the collection of plastic before it pollutes our oceans and waterways. But this isn’t your traditional beach clean-up. Plastic Bank helps to turn plastic waste into something worthwhile.

Woman and girl smiling in front of bags of collected plastic

In the localities where it operates, Plastic Bank integrates with existing recycling communities. It certifies local collection branches and processors in ethical codes of conduct and traceability standards via the Plastic Bank App. Why an app? Because for verified collection community members, each piece of plastic waste can be exchanged at a local collection branch for life-improving benefits, including access to health, work and life insurance, digital connectivity, grocery vouchers, school supplies, fintech services, and more. Alcon’s partnership with Plastic Bank has helped more than 340 collection communities.4

Group walking through bales of collected plastic

We have always been committed to improving the lives of people in the communities where we operate. We are delighted to be doing just that through this partnership.

You may have heard of carbon offsets, wherein businesses purchase green energy credits to offset (and essentially negate) carbon emissions in their manufacturing processes. You can think of our Plastic Bank partnership in the same way. For every ton of plastic in the marketplace used in our preloaded intraocular lens delivery systems, Ultrasert® and AutonoMe®, it will be offset by the removal of a ton of ocean-bound plastic waste via this partnership. For its Vision Care products, Alcon will offset its plastic footprint for DAILIES TOTAL1®, PRECISION1®, TOTAL30® and Systane programs across more than 90 countries globally.

“While single-use plastics are essential to the safety and convenience of medical products, we strive to minimize their impact on the environment by supporting important initiatives like this program with Plastic Bank,’” said Charles Herget, Head of ESG at Alcon. “Our hope with this continued partnership is to further promote the offset of waste with the products in our Surgical and Vision Care portfolios to make an even greater stride in our sustainability efforts. We will also continue to minimize other product-related plastics, such as packaging and shipping materials.”

Group of people collecting plastic on beach

In 2022, Plastic Bank’s program with both the Surgical and Vision Care products helped remove the equivalent of more than 32 million plastic bottles.1 Alcon aims to support the plastic removal of more than 990,000 kg in 2023 – the equivalent of stopping more than 49 million plastic bottles from reaching the ocean this year.3

As a global and visionary leader in eye care, we give people a new lease on life with renewed vision. Being good stewards to the earth is a part of that.

For more information about Alcon’s collaboration with Plastic Bank, visit https://plasticbank.com/client/alcon/.



  1. Plastic Bank. Empowering the World to Stop Ocean Plastic. Accessed May 30, 2023. https://plasticbank.com/
  2. National Geographic. Plastics 101.Accessed May 30,2023. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggh0Ptk3VGE#action=share
  3. Gammage, E. How long does it take for plastic to Biodegrade? SaveMoneyCutCarbon. October 20,2022. Accessed May 30, 2023. https://www.savemoneycutcarbon.com/learn-save/how-long-does-it-take-for-plastic-to-biodegrade/
  4. Alcon – Plastic Bank. Accessed May 30, 2023. https://plasticbank.com/client/alcon/