Are Eyeglasses Recyclable? (And Ways To Reuse Old Eyeglasses)

At a point in time, you have found either yourself or a loved one or even just a random person in need of glasses. Perhaps you have had a medical condition that affected your eyes and required you to get treatment to correct short-sightedness, long-sightedness and so many other eye conditions.

Eyeglasses have been around for a very long time. And truth be told, they are lifesavers in the form of two tiny magnifying lenses properly balanced on the nose. Though it started off as a fashion brand, it has over time evolved to help people read and see clearly, and sunglasses have been used as some sort of protective or corrective device.

Roughly 100 million Americans make use of eyeglasses, and for various reasons too. Some for fashion which they change almost every season, and some to treat eye conditions. After getting tired of the glasses, you obviously can’t keep them forever. You dump them however you deem fit. And then, you go ahead to get another pair of eyeglasses.

This process continues on and on. Most times, you don’t bother yourself with what happens to these eyeglasses after you are done. Have you ever paused for a minute and asked yourself, ‘What happens to these eyeglasses after I dump them?”

Can these eyeglasses be recycled? Can the lenses also be recycled? Is it possible to put eyeglasses up for donation? What other ways can you make use of eyeglasses? In this post, we would put all these questions into perspective by answering them extensively. We would then go on to provide answers to similarly related questions. If you are curious to learn with us, let us jump at it.

Can You Recycle Eyeglasses?

As you most likely know, recycling is now a popular phenomenon, and almost every item is being considered to undergo the process of recycling. As such, eyeglasses are not excluded.

To the focal question of this article, ‘are eyeglasses recyclable?’

Honestly, the answer is not as straightforward as you would expect it to be. The answer is both yes and no. Typically, you should be able to recycle eyeglasses, however, the truth is they are in fact not a highly recyclable accessory.

This means that it stands a higher chance of not being recycled than being recycled, all depending on what they are made of. They are however really easy to use again.

You are probably confused here, Relax, we shall explain.

Eyeglasses Are Recyclable

Eyeglasses are very possible to recycle because some of the parts they are made of are recyclable. Glasses are made of various materials for instance the lenses are usually produced from plastic which is recyclable. The frames are made from aluminum, steel, or gold which can in fact be recycled. So, if you consider these parts, you can say that eyeglasses are recyclable.

So, in short, eyeglasses can be recycled based on the highly recyclable parts they are made of.

Eyeglasses Are Not Recyclable

The argument which supports the fact that eyeglasses are not recyclable is not actually far-fetched. It’s pretty straightforward.

Eyeglasses are made of various materials, for instance, the lens is made from plastic, the frame from either aluminum or steel. To recycle them, they have to be deconstructed and pulled apart into the bare materials before they can be recycled separately.

When we say eyeglasses are not recyclable, it is simply because they are actually difficult to recycle. Most people or organizations just prefer to give them up rather than recycling them. The difficult process involved makes it not worth it at all.

The process is majorly why people don’t recycle and worry over little parts, rather they prefer to give them up for donation. Even many recycling companies prefer to exclude it from their acceptable recyclable materials, or in some instances, reduce its collection for recycling.

Can You Recycle Glasses Lenses?

Knowing whether or not glasses lenses can be recycled is essential for everyone. Asides from how advantageous knowing this information can be, it would also influence our stance on similarly related issues.

The fast answer to this question is Yes. This should not be a surprise if you know what lenses are and what they are made of. If you are not familiar with it, we would explain.

Glass lenses are the two-magnifying glass-like items that sit comfortably on the nose bridge. They are arguably the most important part of the eyeglasses. Glass lenses are made from plastics. And by now, you should know that plastics are generally recyclable. Following this, all products made from plastics including lenses are recyclable as well.

Put succinctly, it is possible for you to recycle glasses lenses.

Can You Donate Eyeglasses?

So, you have read above that you can recycle eyeglasses.  However, recycling is not the only option of disposal. As a matter of fact, there are so many other ways for you to dispose of eyeglasses. However, for the sole purpose of this subheading, we will be focusing on donations.

To the crux of this decision, Yes, you can donate eyeglasses.

Out of the numerous persons that need glasses, there are some that cannot afford to get these glasses. This is the sole purpose for the establishment of various charity organizations. They help to collect used glasses and donate them to people in need of them.

So now you know for a fact that you can donate your eyeglasses. If you are interested in doing this rather than recycling, all you need to do is keep an eye out for a dropbox at either your retailer’s shop, the local charity shop in your location or your ophthalmologist’s office. You can also decide to donate them by sending them off through mail to the address of the organization enlisted on the website of the charity organization.

Before sending off these eyeglasses, you should check with them to see if they are enthused about getting frames that are either broken or damaged. It is possible that they have places where they can sell off the scraps of the materials which can be quite valuable.

Selling off these items can help to raise funds for more charity work.

What To Do With Old Eyeglasses?

Up till now, there are still speculations about what can be done with old eyeglasses. The problem is the same almost everywhere because people think once they are done with their eyeglasses, there can be no other purpose for it again. And given how easily accessible and relatively cheap they can be, people don’t consider it for any other reasonable use.

Here, we would take you through two subheadings under which you can exercise your option for repurposing your eyeglasses

Easy Uses For Old Eyeglasses

1. Reuse

This can be a quite good alternative especially if you don’t have the means to replace them. Except in situations where your glasses are broken or damaged, there’s really nothing that stops you from reusing it. Reusing it will cut out the option of having to recycle them, and even if it’s broken, there are tons of resources online that will tutor you through the process of repairing them.

2. Donate To Charity Or To Your Loved Ones

You can always donate your old glasses to charity. All you need to do is drop them off at the charity office. Before you donate, however, kindly ensure that your glasses will still be in good use.

3. Sell Them

This is a great idea you can engage in to make some money. Just make sure it’s in a good condition and fit to be sold. You can check some online platforms like eBay or some me3rchandising group on Facebook.

4. Retain The Frame And Fit In Some New Lenses

If you would like to retain your frames because you have grown attached to them, you can always reglaze, that is, replace the old lenses with new ones and maintain the frame.

Creative Uses For Your Old Eyeglasses

Additionally, there are a variety of fun and easy ways to reuse your old glasses. With the right instruments and instructions, you can always spark up your creative side.

Some of these alternative and creative uses for your old eyeglasses include;

5. Accessories

You can always find another purpose for your eyeglasses by attaching a neck chain to the lens to make out of it a necklace stone or jewelry.

6. Costume

If you are a party goer, you can save up your glasses and use them for these outings. A simple costume can also be fashioned out for children. And you can simply keep the eyeglasses as frames for children to use on Halloween.

7. Picture Frame

With the use of a hot glue gun or a craft glue, you can sandwich a transform your old eyeglasses into a picture frame.

What To Do With Old Eyeglass Cases?

Perhaps you are thinking only your eyeglasses can be repurposed, this is wrong. There are so many things you can do with the cases in which these eyeglasses come in. Without much dilly dally, let’s tell you all about the numerous things you can do with your old eyeglass cases.

1. Sewing Kit: You can make use of your old eyeglasses case for a cute travel sewing kit. keep one in a car, bathroom or strategic locations.

2. First Aid Kit: The right size of the case can also contain key items that can be found in a first aid kit. You can keep in some tweezers, cotton wool, wipes, etc.

3. Jewelry Holder: Your old glasses case can serve as a holder for your jewelry. If you have tiny earrings or necklace, you can keep them in your old glass case

4. iPod Storage: The eyeglass case can be the perfect holder for your little devices e.g earbuds, iPods, etc.

5. Manicure And Pedicure Kit: You can always fit in a little manicure and pedicure kit into the case. There is more than enough room for it to hold your nail polish, trimmers nail file etc.

6. Clutch: The case can also serve as a cute little clutch for your identity cards, credit cards, lipsticks, glosses etc.

7. Snack Purse: the case is perfect for holding your little snack bars and munchies. They also prevent it from getting mashed.

Other things you can do with your eyeglasses case are just little pieces of art items such as treasure boxes, dream catchers, shadow boxes etc.


Disposal of eyeglasses, as well as their cases, can be easily ignorable since they do not pose any danger. And we all know that eyeglasses are quite popular today. and that is the major reason why you as well as thousands of other persons are interested in knowing how to dispose of them.

While the information might have appeared initially vague and abstract, we bet it does not anymore.

Essentially, you have read everything about eyeglasses. The ball is now in your court. You can play where you like. However, we advise you to be environmentally friendly with eyeglasses as well as its cases.


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About Rinkesh

A true environmentalist by heart ❤️. Founded Conserve Energy Future with the sole motto of providing helpful information related to our rapidly depleting environment. Unless you strongly believe in Elon Musk‘s idea of making Mars as another habitable planet, do remember that there really is no 'Planet B' in this whole universe.