What should you do with your used eclipse glasses? National Park rangers wear their eclipse glasses for the big show. (National Park Service/Aubrey Gemignani/NASA)
What should you do with your used eclipse glasses?
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Millions of people ogled the skies using eclipse viewers. They avidly watched as the moon blotted out the sun. But now all that celestial majesty has passed. So, what should you do with your eclipse glasses?

It's tempting to save them until the next solar eclipse in 2024. It will cross eastern Canada and the central U.S. It will also cross part of Mexico. But you must first check with the company to see if the glasses will last. As Cassy Sommer at Staten Island Live reports, some eclipse glasses makers warn that the lenses expire after three years. But according to NASA, if the glasses are compliant with the ISO 12312-2 safety standards, they should be reusable forever. Just make sure you keep them in a safe spot. Seven years in a junk drawer will likely lead to scratches or abrasions. This can make the glasses dangerous to wear.

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. They will distribute them to schools in South America and parts of Asia. Those places will experience their own solar eclipses in 2019.

The organization will not collect the glasses themselves. Instead, they are partnering with corporate sponsors who will set up drop-off sites for the used eyewear. 

The organization hosted a similar program in 2013. It collected donations to send eclipse glasses to west and central Africa. That was for a total eclipse that passed over the continent in November of that year. In total, they supplied 13,700 glasses to schools in eight countries. 

The AWB hopes the eclipse enthusiasm will help inspire more students to pursue fields in science, technology and mathematics. “Once they look up, we don't want them to stop.” That's what AWB education director Lindsay Bartolone tells Mike Simmons at Sky and Telescope.

In the United States, AWB is sending professional and amateur astronomers into the community. They seek to help teachers conduct sun-based lessons and experiments.

Local schools may also be interested in your used eclipse glasses for astronomy activities or experiments. That's according to  Patti Roth of Earth911. You should ask local schools if they have any interest before you toss or recycle the glasses. So said Irene Pease. She is a board member of the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York. 

If donating doesn't tickle your fancy, it’s fine to pull the solar-filter lenses out of the glasses and recycle the paper or cardboard frames, reports Josh Magness. He is with the Miami Herald. Specialty recyclers like camera stores might even accept the solar filters for recycling. Glasses with plastic frames are likely not recyclable.

And if none of those options pan out, Pease suggests that you can use the lenses as parts of arts and crafts projects. “I wouldn’t mind a pair of eclipse-filter earrings,” she tells Roth, “as an astro-fashion statement."

Finally, keeping the glasses as a souvenir is always an option. As Brooks Mitchell, education coordinator for the nonprofit Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo, tells Roth. Mitchell is planning to keep the glasses to remind himself “of the awesome celestial experience.”

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
What will you do with your used eclipse glasses?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (48)
  • lukej-cot
    8/28/2017 - 09:13 a.m.

    There are many things you can do with your glasses after you use them. The text states " Perhaps the most useful thing you can do with your glasses is to donate them to Astronomers Without Borders." This organization will give the glasses to countries where they can't afford to buy them. That is why you should't just throw away your glasses.

  • Sethm-dav1
    8/28/2017 - 09:21 a.m.

    In the reading "What Should you do with your use eclipse glasses?" It says that you should recycle the glasses. I think that you should recycle them because you cant really use most of them for the eclipse in 2024 because most glasses only can be used for about 3 years. you should give them to AWB because they will give them to schools in mexico and Asia.

  • Peytonh-dav
    8/28/2017 - 11:07 a.m.

    "what should you do with your used eclipse glasses" It was a good article to teach you to help donate to the families in central Africa.

  • Madisonm-dav3
    8/28/2017 - 11:09 a.m.

    I will keep my solar eclipse glasses. I would keep them to remember what a good experience I had. I would also keep my glasses for the next solar eclipse that comes across land.

  • Coltonp-dav
    8/28/2017 - 01:56 p.m.

    In response to "what should you do with old eclipse glasses," I agree that we should send them to the organization that collects them and gives them to kids who need it. One reason I agree is that if we had such a fun experience, they should too. Another reason is that they should also be protected from it, because I will confess, I looked at the sun once or twice without the goggle, and that is probably why they didn't have school. It says in the article solar eclipse goggles only have a certain amount of time before the expire, so we should get them to south America before 2019. A third reason is that some of them might not be able to afford them, and they would love to see the eclipse, because I know I did. even though some might not be interested,I think most will.

  • Edwardj-dav
    8/28/2017 - 02:03 p.m.

    In response to "What Should you do with your Solar Eclipse Glasses," I agree that you should keep your solar eclipse glasses but put them in a safe spot. One reason I agree is that if you put the glasses in a drawer they can get scratch. Another reason is that They can get scuffed or broken in a drawer. It says in the article¨Seven years in a junk drawer will likely lead to scratches or abrasions. This can make the glasses dangerous to wear.¨ A third reason they can be dangerous to use. Even though The glasses could be dangerous, I think you could still use them in the next eclipse.

  • Elih-dav1
    8/28/2017 - 03:13 p.m.

    In response to "What should you do with eclipse glasses ," I agree that you should donate your glasses to schools in South America in 2019. One reason I agree is that they should be able experience it. Another thing that that you can do with your glasses is to use in a craft. It says in the article says that some glasses expire be for the next eclipse so you should donate them.

  • QMorad-dav
    8/28/2017 - 03:14 p.m.

    wow these ides can become very handy for people who wants to get rid of there glasses or who want to keep theirs there is so many things you can do with these glasses you can turn them into projects, you can donate them to schools, or keep them for the next eclipse . And I agree with these things that you can do with those glasses now I might turn my glasses into a project or donate them .[You can also recycle the cardboard and turn the lenses into earrings .} Researchers say that it can be dangerous to wear these glasses for the next eclipse because the lenses can expire which Is really bad . I loved watching the eclipse It was so pretty and I am going to keep my glasses .

  • nylao-orv
    8/29/2017 - 11:46 a.m.

    I think its a good idea...yjk

  • jazminew-orv
    8/29/2017 - 05:34 p.m.

    I think that people should recycle them. Companies can probably fix them and make them for use for the next solar eclipse.

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