How can I reuse or recycle old sunglasses or sunglass lenses?

sunglassesWe’ve had another email from Louise:

I wear specs and get prescription lenses for my sunglasses. I now have several original ‘lenses’ from sunglasses, which have been replaced with the prescription ones I need. Is there a charity that could use them? They all have UV filters and come from pricey glasses so should be of a good quality. It would be a shame to throw them out and for me they’re just useless clutter.

Even charities who collect prescription spectacles for redistribution overseas don’t collect loose prescription lens so unfortunately I doubt anyone will collect non-prescription ones. I would love to be wrong though – anyone know of any charities collecting them?

And what about complete sunglasses which are no longer required? Do any charities/organisations collect those for redistribution?

What about reuses? If the lenses are quite small, they might make giant but interesting earrings; if they’re really big round ones, they could be the start of a great bug halloween costume :)

Any other suggestions?

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7 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle old sunglasses or sunglass lenses?”

  1. Alice says:

    I generally cannibalise my old shades to patch up newer ones when I lose the stupid little screws which fall out of the arm joints, or the nose pad things fall off, or whatever.

    Non-prescription lenses could maybe be made into clip-on shades that can be worn over prescription glasses – hardly anyone makes these any more.

  2. Kara says:

    The niftiest reuse I’ve seen for lenses is as brooch or pendant bases – just glue on pretty fabric, ribbon, or whatever else you like, and use a purchased or salvaged finding to turn it into a pin or pendant. There’s a tutorial somewhere on Craftster for that. If they are polarized, etc. it’s possible that a local school could use them for optics demonstrations or something.

    Around here, unwanted whole sunglasses tend to end up in the kids’ dress-up box, turned into Mardi Gras masks, or cannibalized for parts. I lose about an earpiece a month if I forget to tighten the screws!

  3. GayMarie says:

    I am an accidental artist and immediately envisioned several ways to play with lenses. Art glass light catchers, mobiles, using a pair to make a compact, pill box, or gloss, concealer or shadow box. You will find countless uses for the frames and hardware in above suggestions. The lenses might also make salt cellars, condimenr servers. The frames could make interestin napkin rings. Belt buckles, pendants. Use to enhance or subdue lamplight. The frames would also be fun to use as organizing tools. Upside down, you’ve got a pen and pencil holder or many uses to organize kitchen and jewelry dividers. Front frame would well in bathroom to keep sponges dry. Break the front frames in half and use to retain shoe and boots. Endless amusind possibities … (added by Mobile using Mippin)

  4. Amy says:

    For any complete pair of Rx glasses / sunglasses can be taken to any Pearle Vision or Lens Crafters and donated.
    They are then used for their charity called Gift of Sight which are given to less fortunate people during domestic
    And international mission trips. It is a great charity and we can never have too many Rx glasses.

  5. Lions clubs are happy to accept used sunglasses – both prescription and plain.
    These are sent to developing countries where they are given to people who have had eye operations.

    We cannot use loose lenses.

  6. My husband and I started a sunglass lens replacement business where you can recycle your old favourite sunnies by installing new lenses. For just $28.95 and free worldwide shipping your sunglasses will be as good as new. Great for the environment and the hip pocket!
    Visit us at for more information or to order.

  7. cathy ives says:

    We did several posts on this- The best is to donate or reuse or you can check out the full category of Eco optical which has all sorts of ways to reuse lenses and eyewear

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