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Recycle Your Glasses this Earth Day

Earth Day is meant to encourage participation in recycling and reusing common items. Fortunately, eyeglasses are one of the most reusable items. When you have a pair of glasses that you no longer want because of fashion or prescription changes, you can simply donate them to someone in need.

Where can I donate unused glasses?
Lions Club International’s Recycle for Sight program has helped to conserve sight by providing useable eyeglasses to those in need worldwide for more than 80 years. Lions Club and other charities assisting with eyeglass recycling often pick up from eyeglasses collection boxes at retail stores and optometrist offices. In fact, Walmart stores with Vision Centers have LCI/Walmart co-branded eyeglass collection boxes to facilitate the ease of eyeglass donations from the public.

You can also find eyeglass donation centers by going to charity websites such as One Sight and entering your zip code. If you don’t have a donation center nearby, you can mail in eyeglasses through New Eyes.

Who needs my old glasses?
Four million pairs of eyeglasses are thrown away each year, yet a pair of glasses can mean the difference in gaining employment. Adults who are unable to see are often perform incorrectly at jobs, while children in need of prescription glasses  may not have been able to see blackboards or computer screens at school.

What happens to my glasses when they’re donated?
When glasses are donated to Lions Club, they are shipped to a regional recycling center where they are cleaned, categorized by prescription and prepared for distribution.

Can I donate broken glasses?
Charities collecting eyeglasses will both clean and repair your glasses if they’re repairable. For instance, screws are commonly replaced. In some cases, one pair of eyeglasses may have broken lenses while another has a frame issue. Together, they can be combined to make a usable pair of eyeglasses.

What can I donate or recycle if I only wear contacts?
You can’t recycle contact lenses, but there are plenty of accessories such as saline bottles and contact lens cases that are recyclable or reusable. How can you reuse contact lens cases? Use one of your freshly washed contact lens case to store a pills, ear plugs or earrings, or small amounts of hair gel or lip balm while traveling. Saline bottles are often recyclable. Simply recycle them with other plastic materials that are picked up from your home or at a recycling facility.

Essilor is committed to an environmentally friendly manufacturing process for Airwear lenses. Airwear lenses are the first Essilor lens material to “go green” by utilizing 100 percent recyclable cardboard for packaging, 100 percent recycled water for manufacturing and repurposing unused  materials for other industries.

Earth Day isn’t just about recycling. By donating your used eyewear, you can help the environment and help individuals truly get a new view of the world.