How To Safely Recycle, Re-Use Your Eclipse Glasses
Kane County Recycling Coordinator Jennifer Jarland is reminding residents that you can recycle some eclipse glasses and reuse some eclipse glasses — but there can be a danger in reusing glasses that aren’t up to snuff.
According to the Smithsonian.com website, the next solar eclipse in 2024 and will cross eastern Canada, the central U.S. and part of Mexico. So a lot of folks might be saying to themselves, “Hey, I’ll save my glasses for seven years from now!”
Hold the phone on that.
Some eclipse glasses manufacturers warn that the lenses expire after three years. But according to NASA, if the glasses are compliant with the ISO 12312-2 safety standards, which were adopted in 2015, they should be reusable indefinitely.
“Just make sure you keep them in a safe spot: Seven years in a junk drawer will likely lead to scratches or abrasions, which can make the glasses dangerous to wear,” the Smithsonian says.
So can you recycle those portable solar-eyewear fashion statements?
Yes, according to the Albany Democrat-Herald and other sources, you can literally recycle them. If the frames are paper or cardboard, tear out the protective solar-filter lenses, then toss paper frames into the recycling bin and the lenses in the trash. Plastic frames cannot be recycled and should go in the trash.
Perhaps the most useful thing you can do with your glasses is to donate them to Astronomers Without Borders. The organization will soon announce a program to collect the used glasses and distribute them to schools in South America and parts of Asia, which will experience their own solar eclipses in 2019.
While the organization will not collect the glasses themselves, they are partnering with corporate sponsors who will set up drop-off sites for the used eyewear.
Apparently, you can also use them as a camera filter. It’s an easy do-it-yourself trick.
Finally, keeping the glasses as a souvenir is always an option. Brooks Mitchell, education coordinator for the nonprofit Space Science Institute in Boulder, CO, says he’s keeping the glasses to remind himself “of the awesome celestial experience.”