5 ways to recycle spectacles
If your prescription changes, what are you expected to do with your old glasses?
Many people have their eyes tested once a year and I’m wondering what happens to the old spectacles. I don’t wear glasses, so I’m literally asking you – are old glasses updated with new lenses or is everything landfilled? How many pairs of ‘spares’ does one really need? And how useful are prescription glasses if they’re out of date?
I’m also wondering about fashion glasses. It seems frames are as fickle as clothes when it comes to the latest ‘must-have’ item, so I’m guessing many fashion frames are discarded after a few months wear once the ‘new season’ arrives.
I’ve been doing a bit of research and have come up with several ways to recycle your spectacles; some of which help support charities and those less fortunate than ourselves.
The World Health Organization estimates 153 million people around the world have poor eyesight due to uncorrected errors such as near-sightedness, far-sightedness, and astigmatism. These can be easily diagnosed, measured and corrected with spectacles, yet millions of people in developing countries do not have access to these basic services.
Second Sight Project
KODAK Lens and Vision Aid Overseas have set up the Second Sight project. Vision Aid Overseas is the UK charity dedicated to helping people who need spectacles to live an ordinary life.
Find your nearest donation point for recycling spectacles.
To take part you have to get a donation envelope, either from your nearest Kodak Lens Vision Centre or by requesting a donation envelope online.
Lions Clubs International is a team of volunteers who serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace and promote international understanding.
One of their projects is the “Lions Recycle for Sight program”. Unwanted eyeglasses are collected and distributed to areas in the world where they will have the greatest impact.
They are particularly interested in children’s glasses.
For our friends in the US, you can mail unwanted glasses to:
Lions Clubs International Headquarters
Attention: Receiving Department
300 W. 22nd Street
Oak Brook, IL 60523, USA
Find your nearest international recycling areas for Australia, Canada, France, Italy, South Africa, Spain and the United States.
For people in the UK, click on their Club Locator and select the first letter of your nearest town to see if there is a recycling collection near you. The Chichester club have a large recycling project for glasses and have supplied local hospitals and opticians with recycling receptacles so maybe your local club has collection points too.
If you only need to upgrade your lenses, but your frames are still good then why not get your optician to put new lenses into old frames? You’ll save lots of money too!
Framesavers estimate that up to 98% of all used frames can be successfully re-lensed and encourage people to reuse their frames. You send your glasses to them in a FREEPOST envelope, along with your prescription and they return the glasses to you within 7-10 days.
You could donate your glasses to a theatre company for use on stage
Apparently many opticians collect old spectacles and they are donated to charities who send them to developing countries. If you know of one, please let me know!