How to Properly Dispose of Eclipse Glasses
A Comprehensive Guide
Watching a solar eclipse is a fascinating experience that combines science, wonder, and a touch of magic. While the spectacle can be awe-inspiring, the eyewear used for this event — commonly known as eclipse glasses — isn't something you'll need on a daily basis. So what do you do with those eclipse glasses once the celestial show is over? Here's a comprehensive guide on how to properly dispose of or recycle your eclipse glasses.
Option 1: Recycle Them
Before throwing your eclipse glasses in the recycling bin, you need to understand that not all elements of the glasses are recyclable in the traditional sense. The cardboard frames can generally go in your paper recycling bin, but the solar filter lenses should be removed and disposed of separately.
1. Separate the Frames from the Lenses: Use scissors to cut out the solar filter lenses from the cardboard or plastic frames.
2. Recycle the Frames: Put the frames in your paper or plastic recycling bin, depending on the material. Eclipse Glasses USA's glasses are made of paperboard, basically cardboard, so they are able to be placed in most recycling bins.
3. Dispose of the Lenses: The lenses are usually not recyclable through regular municipal recycling programs as they are silver black polymer, which is not a material routinely included, if at all, in recycling programs. Place them in a bag and throw them in the general waste.
Specialty Recycling Programs
Some organizations run recycling programs specifically for eclipse glasses. They usually collect the glasses, remove the lenses, and recycle the frames. Some even send the frames to schools in countries where an eclipse is about to happen.
1. Find a Program: Search online for "eclipse glasses recycling programs" to find an organization near you.
2. Mail or Drop Off: Follow the instructions provided by the program to mail in or drop off your eclipse glasses.
Option 2: Donate Them
1. Check the Expiry: Eclipse glasses usually come with an expiration date. If your glasses are still within their effective period, consider donating them.
2. Find a Program: Organizations like Astronomers Without Borders collect eclipse glasses and distribute them to schools in other countries where solar eclipses are imminent. Eclipse Glasses USA will be conducting donation programs following each of the next two eclipses (October 2023 Annular Eclipse and April 2024 Total Eclipse). Stay tuned for details on how to return your used eclipse glasses to Eclipse Glasses USA so they can be repurposed to other countries for use.
3. Follow Donation Guidelines: Make sure to read and follow any guidelines set by the donation program.
Option 3: Reuse Them
Schools, colleges, and educational camps can use eclipse glasses for educational demonstrations about solar safety and astronomy.
Keep your glasses for the next solar eclipse. Check the expiration date and store them in a safe, dry place.
Option 4: Craft Projects
Unleash your creativity by turning your eclipse glasses into art. The unique solar lenses can make for an interesting visual effect in all sorts of crafts.
Things to Avoid
- Do not throw the whole glasses in general waste: This wastes an opportunity to recycle the frames.
- Do not use damaged or scratched glasses: If the lenses are scratched, punctured, or torn, they are not safe for future use.
Proper disposal of eclipse glasses not only shows respect for our planet but can also provide an educational opportunity for others. Whether you choose to recycle, donate, reuse, or repurpose your glasses, make sure to do so responsibly. By following the guidelines outlined in this article, you're taking a step toward both sustainability and the promotion of scientific education.