Yesterday, I was cleaning out a junk drawer and found a bunch of old glasses cases with outdated prescription glasses. We never have thrown out our glasses when we get a new pair because we always think that it’s good to keep the old ones for a spare in case we lose or break our new pair. Now, we seem to have quite a collection going. We’ve always taken really good care of our glasses, so they all are in excellent shape. A couple of pairs even had their own set of clip on sunglasses. I decided it was time to see about how to go about recycling them to someone else who could use them.
As it turns out, there are a number of organizations that collect and redistribute good-condition eyeglasses (no damage or scratches) to people who might never be able to afford glasses on their own.
One of those organizations is called OneSight (founded by Luxottica Group Foundation) and they have partnered with LensCrafters, Pearle Vision, Sears Optical, Target Optical, and Sunglass Hut as well as many independent opticians across Canada and the US to serve as collection drop-off points.
Lions Clubs International provides funding and oversees an eyeglass collection and redistribution program called CLERC in Canada (Canadian Lions Eyeglass Recycling Centre) and LERC in the US. The Lions Club has partnered with retailers like Superstore and Walmart as collection deposits as well as many libraries, community centres and churches. If you are unsure of where the drop off locations are in your area, contact your local Lions Club. (They also take used hearing aids)
These wonderful organizations collect glasses from all of their individual depots and then ships them to a central sorting centre. There broken frames and scratched and missing lenses are sorted out and removed. Then they clean and measure the prescription of the glasses, package them and file them in a warehouse. Volunteer teams go to different places where people cannot afford to buy glasses, do eye exams and match them up with a prescription that meets their needs. It’s a lot of work and takes a lot of dedication on the part of these organizations and their volunteers, but the end result is that the recycled eye glasses end up going to people who may otherwise never be able to properly see.
I thought it was going to be difficult to hunt down a place that I could drop them off to, but it turns out that in my city nearly every major optician will collect them and forward them to one organization or another, so wasn’t at all inconvenient to find a place close to where I would normally be shopping.
If those old eyeglasses are still in good condition, don’t toss them - recycle them! You might help make someone’s world look a little brighter!