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, 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, the central U.S. and 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 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, 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.

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 when they 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 told Mike Simmons at Sky and Telescope.

That goes for the United States as well. In the wake of today's eclipse, AWB is sending professional and amateur astronomers into the community to help teachers conduct sun-based lessons and experiments, reports Simmons.

Local schools may also be interested in your used eclipse glasses for astronomy activities or experiments, reports Patti Roth of Earth911. You should ask local schools if they have any interest before you toss or recycle the glasses, Irene Pease, board member of the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York, tells Roth. 

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 for 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 (11)
  • Sadieb-dav
    8/28/2017 - 09:19 a.m.

    In response to "What You Should do With Your Used Eclipse Glasses," I agree that there are a lot of things you can do with your used eclipse glasses. One way you can re-use them is to find out if local schools want your glasses for projects or research. Another way to recycle them is by donating them to an organization that is collecting them. It says in the article that these organizations give them to schools in different countries around the world. A third thing you can do with them is arts and crafts. You could make jewelry or anything else that you wanted out of them. since there are so many ways to re-use them, I don't think anybody should be throwing them away.

  • Kevinm-dav1
    8/28/2017 - 11:23 a.m.

    I will probably donate or recycle my eclipse glasses and by new ones because if what the article said is true then i would recycle them but not through them away because that would just be a waste of eclipse glasses when people in Asia will need them in 2 years for the eclipse that's why i am donating mine and buying new ones in 2024.

  • Kevinm-dav2
    8/28/2017 - 02:03 p.m.

    What I'm going to do with my used eclipse glasses, is keep them as a souvenir because, the next eclipse in South Carolina is in 2043 and I do not know if they are going to work then. In the article, it did say But according to NASA, if the glasses are compliant with the ISO 12312-2 safety standards, they should be reusable indefinitely." but that is over 3 years away.It is also nice to have REAL solar eclipse glasses for fun too! I like this article because you can have an idea on what to do with your solar eclipse glasses.

  • Quantasiaw-dav
    8/28/2017 - 02:04 p.m.

    In response ¨What Will You Do With Your Eclipse Glasses¨?One thing I would do Is keep my eclipse glasses and here Is why.Reason number one is because for memories, so i remind myself on what happen inside of 2017. The second reason is why because you don´t know if the glasses lens might expire and if you use it again, you might damage your eye.The last reason why is because if you stuff it in a trash draw and it might get scratch and you might can see it,but it´s there and get hurt your eye.Even though you could take that chance,I am not going to risk my eye.

  • Parkera-dav
    8/28/2017 - 02:07 p.m.

    In the article "What should you do with your used eclipse glasses"I thought that In response to How you could save your eclipse glasses until 2024, I disagree with this because that such a long time away that I would lose them by then. Another reason is that If I kept track of them I would have scratched them up to much to work.. It says in the article that instead of saving them you could donate them to AWB who will give them to schools in south america and Asia who will experience an eclipse in 2019. A third reason I disagree with keeping them is they could be used for better things.Some things they can be used for are for recycling and even earings. Even though I disagree with saving eclipse glasses for next time, I think there are far better things than than throwing them away.
    _______________________.

  • Katief-dav1
    8/28/2017 - 03:15 p.m.

    In response to "What should you do with your eclipse glasses," I agree that donating your eclipse classes to that program is a good idea because it is indeed true that in about 7 years in a box could cause many scratches could make it dangerous to wear. One reason I disagree is that NASA eclipse glasses are available to wear in the next eclipse. Another reason is that eclipse glasses are hard to find and sell out quickly so keeping yours that you have would be a save in money . It says in the article that there is another eclipse in 2019.

  • jackiek-orv
    8/29/2017 - 11:31 a.m.

    I will save them for the next eclipse, which is in the US in 2024.

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

    In response to "What should you do with your eclipse I agree that donating your eclipse classes to that program is a good idea because it is indeed true that in about 7 years in a box could cause many scratches could make it dangerous to wear.

  • brycew-orv
    8/30/2017 - 04:56 p.m.

    The glasses I used were not mine so idk what my teacher is going to do with them

  • kirshaunm-orv
    9/03/2017 - 01:24 p.m.

    I would save my eclipse glasses since it only happens every once an a while. I would keep them for my children and my grand children to see. And i would tell them the story behind the used glasses.

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