Recycling has become a way of life for most people in the developed world with the act emerging as something closer to a necessity in the past few years with an increased warning of overflowing garbage dumps, global warming and dwindling resources.
Dangerous items such as cell phone batteries and car tires receive special treatment from their own industries and common household materials such as plastic and cardboard are typically covered by local collection, but what about odd items like eyeglasses?
If you’ve got spectacles that are broken or outdated, don’t throw them into the trash! With a number of helpful and meaningful alternatives, consider using one of these six ways to recycle your glasses instead!
1. Reuse Your Frames
If you find yourself needing to replace only your lenses due to damage or a new prescription, consider holding onto your trusty old frames in order to save money, keep the same look you’ve been loving for years previous and to eliminate any unnecessary waste; optometrists are always happy to have your new lenses fitted to old frames when possible.
2. Replace Your Lenses
If, on the other hand, your frames are the victim of a sitting bum or some other tragedy, you can do the complete opposite of number one, ordering new frames to serve as housing for your existing lenses. This does require that you order frames of a size small enough to accommodate the lenses and that your local crafters are able to reshape the lenses sufficiently but offers the same money-saving opportunity while giving you an excuse to try out a new style on the cheap.
3. Donate Your Glasses to Those in Need
With more than 150 million people the world over suffering from poor eyesight and without access to corrective lenses, a huge pool of needy and well-deserving people exist that would benefit from your old glasses in a life-changing way.
Organizations like the Lens and Vision Aid Overseas program by Kodak and the Recycle for Sight program by Lions Clubs of America offer owners of old lenses and glasses the ability to donate locally with the results to be seen, quite literally, in the farthest reaches of the planet.
4. Theaters or Kids: Play Dress-Up!
Whether used as props on a professional stage or as costume accessories for your kids, your old glasses can serve as an excellent tool for dressing up! Old frames can be filled with mock lenses or removed altogether in order to avoid eye strain, allowing you to donate your eyewear to your favorite local theater group or to your children’s costume trunk.
5. Create a Home Science Experiment
Glasses work to solve your visual impairments by bending light in a customized way that makes up for the shoddy work your eyes are doing. This light bending technique is the same behind more powerful optical tools such as magnifying glasses, telescopes and binoculars, giving you a fantastic opportunity to teach and learn at home about the nature of light.
6. Create a Masterpiece
If you find that you simply cannot get rid of your old eyeglasses via one of the useful outlets we’ve listed above, you do have one last option before they make their way to the trash bin: create a work of art! The picture above depicts a beautiful chandelier made by designer Stuart Haygarth of London, fashioned from more than 1,000 pairs of glasses.
With recycling quickly developing from initiative to trend to necessity in the developed world, it is important to remember that the avenues available to recycle even custom-made items like eyeglasses exist in abundance, giving you the ability to make the world a better place in more than one way with a single act of ingenuity.