Can You Recycle Sunglasses? (And What To Do With Old Sunglasses)

When you think about enhancing fashion the classiest way, one of the things that come to mind is sunglass. For years, sunglasses have been a great part of completing people’s elegance. Many people have come to fall in love with sunglasses in different ways, that today, you can hardly count the number of sunglasses around.

As good as this is, there have been some concerns raised regarding how these sunglasses may affect the environment. Due to their frequent production and use, can we say that they are environmentally sustainable?

The above questions and many more are what we provide answers to in this post. We would love you to get the best from the information below, so why not take a seat, relax and follow us through with rapt attention!

Are Sunglasses Recyclable?

Sunglasses are in great use today that you just can’t but spend some time wondering what would become of those sunglasses when they are old or worn out. As an environmental advocate, one of the best options is to consider whether these sunglasses can be recycled or not. In the following paragraphs, we will look into this in detail.

Yes, sunglasses can be recycled. The reason this is possible is because of the materials used in making many sunglasses in use today. Generally, your sunglasses are made of two components; the lenses and the frames.

About the frames, they are made with different materials which have been considered recyclable. The materials include plastic (The plastic materials may be acetate, nylon, or Zyl), metal (The metal material may be gold, steel, titanium, or aluminum), or natural materials including wood, buffalo horn, or even bone.

On the other hand, the lenses are often plastics coated with special materials to protect from ultraviolet rays. If you consider each of these materials that make up an average sunglass, you will see that they are recyclable on their own.

However, there can be some difficulties with recycling some sunglasses, especially when they are a mix of many materials, as stated above. Often, where this is the situation, the recyclers would have to separate the different materials into their category before recycling them. This takes up a lot of productive time and human resources in the recycling stations, which the station doesn’t have to spare.

Aside from this, there might also be difficulties with recycling some sunglasses made from single materials. For instance, if your sunglasses are made entirely from titanium, it will be difficult for you to find a local recycling station willing to accept and recycle titanium materials. The problem is not because titanium material can’t be recycled, but that many local recycling stations do not have the machine or resources to take up the recycling.

In all, sunglasses are recyclable, but you should confirm what material your sunglasses are made of and whether your local recycling station will accept such sunglasses for recycling. This will inform whether you can put your sunglasses in the recycling bin, or you have to send them separately to the local recycling station.

Are Plastic Sunglasses Recyclable?

Generally, plastics are recyclable materials. But when they are used to make sunglasses, do they remain recyclable? This seems like something we all want to find answers to. So, let’s get to it real quick.

Yes, when plastics are used to make sunglasses, they do not lose their recyclable condition. Compared to other materials, many recycling stations prefer accepting plastic sunglasses because of the ease of recycling.

Once it is ascertained that your sunglasses are entirely made up of plastics, then you don’t have much to worry about. Though, due to the variety of plastic materials in use today, you might have to confirm if your sunglasses have the recycle sign on them. Even if it does not have, which is unlikely, there are still different uses for them.

Can You Recycle Broken Sunglasses?

We need to first understand that the fact that a product is damaged does not mean it will lose its initial material condition. The implication of this is that if a product can be recycled when in the whole condition, it will remain recycled even when it is broken.

Regarding broken sunglasses, we need to find out whether the materials used to make that sunglasses are recyclable. If they are recyclable, then the fact that the sunglasses are broken does not prevent them from being recycled. In fact, in most recycling processes, materials that have been selected for recycling will have to be broken or crushed at one stage before they are finally recycled into another product.

So, if you have some broken sunglasses, don’t be discouraged; you can still recycle them. However, you have to ensure that the broken pieces do not get mixed up with other materials. This means that if you have broken glasses made with titanium, be careful not to allow the broken pieces to mix with the broken sunglasses made with plastics.

If you can ensure you separate the individual items this way, then you are good to go with the recycling of your broken glasses.

Can You Donate Sunglasses?

Donating things has been around for a long time. Mostly, the idea behind donating old things is whether other persons can still use those things. If they can, then there is no problem or limit to what one can donate.

You can donate your sunglasses in the same vein if they are still in good condition and can still be used by others. Often, many charity organizations will be willing to accept your sunglasses donations.

If your sunglasses’ lenses are broken, and you want to donate them, you can still do. There are ways you can change the lenses of your sunglasses and still make them useful for others.

In donating your sunglasses, you will have to clean and package them in a presentable way.  Also, you may want to confirm how the charity organizations will take delivery of the donation. Often, many organizations ask that the package be sent over to their head offices for inspection and collection. In some cases, they might ask that their representatives pick it up.

In any case, since the goal is to donate the sunglasses, you don’t have much to worry about. After donating the sunglasses, the charitable organization may select and distribute them to those who need the sunglasses. In other situations, they may sell the sunglasses and use them for proceeds for other charitable courses.

Are Sunglasses Eco-Friendly?

Sunglasses are made of different materials, so it is impossible to answer whether all sunglasses are eco-friendly. Rather, what should be done is look through the materials some of them are made of and consider their eco-friendliness.

For sunglasses made with plastics, you can almost guess that they are not entirely eco-friendly, especially if they are not recycled. This is because plastic materials take up thousands of years before they biodegrade.

When they biodegrade, they don’t leave the environment completely but reduce microplastics that remain in the soil for a considerable number of years. Because these microplastics are not natural materials, they can reduce the soil’s nutrients and even stunt plants’ growth.

For sunglasses made with wood, cork, or bamboo they are eco-friendly. This is because these materials are from natural sources and would break down easily. For instance, the wood used to make sunglasses will break down in a matter of months. When it breaks down, it adds to the soil’s nutrients because it is from natural and renewable sources.

However, this eco-friendliness only applies as much as the sunglasses’ frames are concerned. When we consider the lenses of the sunglasses, we might not be able to say the same. This is because the lenses are often plastic materials that have been coated with special materials to prevent ultraviolet rays. We need not brush over the damage plastic materials do to the environment again.

In all, glasses made with wood, bamboo, or cork would be entirely eco-friendly if their frames are recycled. On the off chance that they are not, then we can’t conclude that sunglasses are eco-friendly.

What Can I Do With Old Sunglasses?

One thing is clear about fashion. Because fashion evolves very rapidly, the things that are now fashionable will one day lose their charm because they will either become old or worn out. This is the case for everything, including your sunglasses. That is probably why you are here trying to find out what you can do with old sunglasses. Well, as usual, we will not leave you hanging. Let’s get to business and tell you things to do with those old glasses.

1. Donate Them

Donating old things didn’t just start today, so there’s nothing new about giving out your old sunglasses for charity homes that may need them. However, before you send your sunglasses for donation, you should check in with the charity organization to confirm its collection policy. Usually, many would ask the sunglasses to be sent over. Even if they don’t have immediate need of the sunglasses, they can always sell them and use the proceeds for other charitable courses.

2. Sell Them

You can always sell your old sunglasses if they are still in good shape and condition. Many people are ready to offer you some dollars to get those beautiful sunglasses. If you don’t know who to sell to, you may check your local thrift stores. You can also sell online on platforms like eBay, Facebook, or even Instagram. What is only required of you is good marketing and negotiation skills to get the best deal.

3. Keep Them For Special Occasion

You would agree with us that there are some special occasions that you can’t just immediately find the right sunglasses to match your dresses. If you have found yourself in this situation, you will know how awkward it is. The good news is that you can save your old glasses for this special occasion. This will even save you some money since you don’t have to spend buying sunglasses that match your attire.

4. Gift Them

Gifting can never go out of style. With your sunglasses, you can put a smile on the faces of your colleagues, friends, family members, or neighbors. However, before gifting your sunglasses to your loved ones, you should ensure they can still be used. Always remember that the purpose of gifting is not to get rid of your sunglasses but to allow others to have good use of them.

5. Change The Lenses

Even though your sunglasses may be old, you can still rebrand them and make them fit for use again. What you have to do is change the lenses. Depending on the kind of sunglasses you are using, it might be difficult to do this. So, you might have to visit the sunglasses repairer.


Sunglasses are a good fashion enhancer, but they can damage the environment if they are not properly managed. This is why you must take proper care to dispose of them properly when they are no longer in use. As you have seen above, we have provided various means for you to do this. The ball is now in your court to act accordingly.


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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.