How can I reuse or recycle old glasses/spectacles?

GlassesAfter some in-depth testing last week (closing one eye then the other, note blurriness, rinse, repeat), I suspect it’s time for me to get some new glasses.

I get new glasses every other year or so: partly because with the ones I pick, it’s about the same cost to get completely new glasses as it is to get lenses replaced in my existing frames and partly because after wearing them for at least 12 hours a day, every day, after a couple of years I fancy a change.

Anyway, I have a number of old pairs of specs hanging around the house – as spares and for wearing when decorating etc. But what else can I do with them?

I have a feeling some charities collect them for redistribution overseas – anyone know of any charities in particular?

Or does anyone know any companies that make it financially viable to replace just the lenses?

Best Suggestions

  • Pass Them On: lots of charities collect old glasses for redistribution overseas – many have drop-off points at opticians’ branches or high street charity shops – see comments below for more details.
  • See the comments below for more suggestions and ideas

(Photo by capetan)

Related Categories

household, items

Search for other related items



40 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle old glasses/spectacles?”


  1. James says:

    You can take your old glasses into D+A opticians and they are sent to a charity i think it’s wold vision.

    James

    • christine says:

      James wrote:

      You can take your old glasses into D+A opticians and they are sent to a charity i think it’s wold vision.
      James

      thankyou James,Been wondering what to do with TWENTY pairs i found among my late parents belongings,they were forgetful,poor guys,just kept ordering new ones.

  2. allan says:

    lions interntional will receive and recycle

  3. Vision Aid Overseas, in association with KODAK Lens, have a spectacle recycling scheme called the Second Sight Project.

    You can donate your old glasses to the scheme via your nearest KODAK Lens Vision Centre, your local Vision Express, or you can request a donation envelope.
    Please note that they can’t accept: spectacles that are broken, bifocals or varifocals, or spectacle cases.

    • Lindsey Turner says:

      I used to work for D & A, and World Vision Overseas do accept bifocals and varifocals. Often, just by re-adjusting the nose pads, these types of spectacles can make a huge difference to those in third world countries who cannot afford them. They are not too worried if the power of the lens is slightly incorrect. Better something than nothing.

      • Hi I think it is great to recycle your old glasses and lenses I know mine cost me over £400 a time becuase of my eyesight so in this current climate people cannot afford to pay that much for glasses new

  4. Milly says:

    Hello Louisa, I too have several pairs of old specs and have discovered that most opticians will take them to be re-used in the Third World. Also Help the Aged shops will take them.

    • Lauren says:

      Yah, I found a pair of glasses at a thrift store (Goodwill I think) and my optician just put in new lenses for me. Kinda rare to find a snazzy set of frames, but as someone on the receiving end of a donated pair of glasses, I can say that the idea works.

  5. Ryan says:

    Perhaps an old stuffed animal could use some specs.

  6. Diane says:

    Costco also collects frames for charity

  7. Camron says:

    Specs-Store.co.uk is another place who are accepting frames on behalf of Vision Aid. Being a frames specialist they also refurbish the frames for free before sending them on the VA.

    http://www.specs-store.co.uk/recycle-frames.asp

  8. Lizard says:

    Vision Aid receive specs from many opticians and ensure that they are porperly prescribed in developing countries but they can’t take the specs cases as the add to transport costs. The also use prison workers to refurbish the glasses and test the strength but I think they don’t take them if they are too damaged. Any suggestions for the cases?

  9. Stephen says:

    please see http://www.vao.org.uk/spectacles/ to see how to recycle your unwanted spectacles

  10. jo says:

    Didn’t the late eric morcombe’s wife start a charity, as eric had so many glasses she sent them overseas where they were needed. I’ve looked but cannot find the website.

  11. Tate says:

    A Couple Of Points:
    [1] I’d give the old cases to young children to keep various children-only things in. When I was a kid I couldn’t get enough little boxes, cases, wallets, tins etc. Kids love them and they can store penknives, paperclips, toenail cuttings, collecting cards, secret messages etc in them.
    [2] You can of course get your old spectacles repaired! Don’t throw them away (VAO don’t take broken spectacles). Places on the High St may tell you they cannot be mended but 95% can be! Phone up Spec Repairs (01255 426 644)and ask them. The whole thing can be done by post/phone and it’s not expensive.

  12. Grace says:

    The lions club international has an eyeglass recycling and has had one in many countries for years:
    http://www.lionsclubs.org/EN/our-work/sight-programs/eyeglass-recycling/lions-eyeglass-recycling-centers.php

  13. Olga says:

    Remove lenses, paint them with glass paint and try to do some stained glass project.

  14. Olga says:

    Create a vase out of clay or plaster inserting lenses here and there for transparent details.
    Make a doll house using lenses as window glass.
    Use several lenses to form flower petals. Stick them into clay or plaster base.

  15. Olga says:

    If the lens does not have a hall already, drill one, draw or write something on the lens and wear as a necklace,

  16. Olga says:

    Soft rubbery parts of glasses can be reused for the kitchen cabinets doors so they close quietly. Just glue them on.

  17. Shorty says:

    Take out the lenses, replace them with regular clear plastic, and give them to your local high school actor.

  18. Deedo says:

    Use them as a base for making masks.

  19. I and my friends in Chichester Lions Club spend many hours each week sorting spectacles sent to us by Lions clubs throughout the UK. Most are donated via collecting bins in opticians etc.
    We don’t use cases, but even broken spectacles can be turned into cash if they are made of the right materials and this can provide funds which we use to support sight related charities.
    See our web site for more information.

  20. Replace My Contacts started a program where they accept old glasses. One per customer, a $5 rebate will be given on any contact lens order if glasses are donated. RMC will also send the box to mail your old glasses AND pay for shipping. Glasses will be donated to world vision care organizations. Everyone wins. Find more details at the RMC homepage, http://www.replacemycontacts.com

  21. A friend of mine had their eyes lasered recently and after the procedure they were asked to place their glasses into a perspex bin showing potential customers how many people had been relieved of glasses in that month. Once the month is out they then donate to vision aid. I thought whilst a good marketing gimic it also encourage people to donate their old pairs of glasses too even if not having the procedure done. I wear glasses/contacts and donated my old glasses to the same charity.

  22. http://www.stuarthaygarth.com/default.asp?V_DOC_ID=1177
    SPECTACLE (2006 ) by Stuart Haygarth

    Spectacle is created from over 1000 pairs of prescription spectacles which are linked together to resemble a traditional tiered chandelier. By using prescriptive spectacles which were once an essential tool for seeing an interesting analogy is drawn between their old and new purposes. A mirror ball light effect is produced as the light is refracted through the several layers of lenses.

  23. recycled my old pair of glasses destined for third world, still in good nick so felt i did my bit. Was a box in my local opticians.

  24. Cedar Wilde says:

    Hello,
    I wonder if you have any large, pref. square frames amongst your store. I have been trying to get some for ages without success. I would be happy to pay for a pair if you were willing to sell them to me. I have many pairs to donate to charity too and I can do that here in Aus. (I’ve been buying second-hand ones from the thrift shops just in case they would be suitable frames for me!)
    Cheers,
    Cedar

  25. chez says:

    The Salvation Army Charity shops will accept old specs to be re-used.

  26. Vivayne says:

    Costco wholesale collects them & donates them as well.

  27. Liana says:

    Can’t I make soMething like x-ray or something

  28. Steve Morgan says:

    Yes, I would take them to the Salvation Army myself.

  29. Yes get them to Costco. They are sent to the third world where someone can get good use out of them. Make sure you put them in a case to protect the lenses.

  30. Uluska says:

    Paint pretty eyes on them and wear for fun.

  31. Pauly says:

    I collect for a UK based retired greyhound charity in the Uk, sadly when the dogs become less usefull to their oweners ie not winning races they throw them out sadly after years of focussingon catching the rabbit they become short sighted so human glasses selotaped to there head work a treat


Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. How can I reuse or recycle glasses cases? » How can I recycle this? 14 11 08
  2. Spectacles Blog Updates: Odds & Sods – Spectacles Blog 28 02 09
  3. How can I reuse or recycle old sunglasses or sunglass lenses? | How can I recycle this? 16 09 09
  4. How can I reuse or recycle contact lenses? | How can I recycle this? 31 03 10
  5. How Can I Recycle This? « Amalia (On Earth) 04 10 10

Leave a Reply

Your name
Your email (it will not be published. If you want people to contact you, leave your email address in the message too.)
Your website (if you've got one)