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What To Do with Old Prescription Glasses

If you’re like me, an individual who’s spent a significant part of their life donning prescription glasses, it’s quite possible you have a drawer filled with old pairs somewhere at home.

What To Do with Old Prescription Glasses

You might wonder what to do with old prescription glasses and whether they serve any further purpose. In my personal experience, and as many experts have noted, the options are plentiful and impactful, both environmentally and socially.

TL;DR: Rather than disposing of your old prescription glasses, consider donating them to charity organizations, recycling, or repurposing them into creative projects, contributing towards minimizing environmental waste and helping individuals with vision impairments worldwide.

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The Environmental Impact of Disposed Glasses

Before diving into the possible solutions, it might be worthwhile to consider the environmental consequences of improperly discarded glasses. A 2018 study showed that around 45 million people in the United States alone wear glasses. Assuming each person changes their glasses every few years, we’re looking at a significant volume of waste.

These glasses often end up in landfills, where they take hundreds of years to decompose due to their plastic and metal components. Moreover, the production of new glasses further contributes to carbon emissions and resource depletion.

Donating: A Vision of Hope

I recommend donating your old glasses as the first and most meaningful option.

Numerous organizations worldwide accept donated glasses and redistribute them to individuals who cannot afford vision correction. One such organization is Lions Clubs International, operating through a vast network across the globe.

For a step-by-step guide on how to donate:

  1. Clean your glasses thoroughly with a gentle cleanser.
  2. Find a local drop-off location or mail-in address through the organization’s website.
  3. Securely package your glasses to prevent any damage during transit.
  4. Send them off, knowing you’ve contributed to a significant cause!

Recycling: A Circle of Life for Glasses

If your glasses are broken or otherwise unfit for use, recycling is a viable option. Recycling programs accept these glasses, separating the metal and plastic components to be reused in other products.

This practice significantly reduces waste and the need for new resources, aligning with our global push towards sustainability.


If you’re feeling a bit creative, repurposing old glasses into art or functional objects can be a rewarding experience. I’ve seen some amazing DIY projects, from using glasses as photo frames to creating unique wall art.

While this might not be the most impactful option from a broader perspective, it’s a fun and environmentally friendly solution that gives a second life to your old pairs.

Turn Frames into Picture Frames

An interesting way to repurpose old glasses frames is to transform them into mini picture frames. You can remove the lenses and insert small photos of your loved ones, creating a unique and personal decor piece.

Hang it on the wall or place it on your desk – it’s an instant conversation starter!

Create a Spectacular Wind Chime

Upcycling can often lead to surprising art pieces. Why not convert your old glasses into a wind chime? Use the frames as the base, and you can attach various small objects, like shells or beads, to dangle down.

The glasses will jingle pleasantly in the breeze, adding a whimsical touch to your balcony or garden.

Design Jewelry

Your old glasses can also be transformed into unique jewelry pieces. With a bit of imagination, the frames can be crafted into funky bracelets or the lenses into pendants. It might be worthwhile to consider adding embellishments like beads, feathers, or rhinestones to make your jewelry even more eye-catching.

Create a Visionary Wall Art

Create a visually stimulating wall piece by mounting your collection of old glasses on a canvas or wooden panel. Arrange them in a pattern or design that suits your style. This artistic ensemble serves as a testament to your life’s changing prescriptions and styles.

Construct a Spectacle Stand

If you’re handy with tools, consider repurposing old glasses into a spectacle stand. By strategically attaching glasses to a base, you can create a quirky and practical stand for your current pair. It’s an interesting way to keep your glasses safe when they’re not in use.

Make a Decorative Mirror

Another interesting idea is to replace the lenses in your old glasses with mirror glass. These can be arranged on a wall or piece of wood to create a decorative mirror display. It’s a unique and charming way to reflect on your past styles.


Your old prescription glasses are far from useless. Whether you choose to donate, recycle, or repurpose them, each option serves a valuable purpose and counters the environmentally detrimental effects of waste.

In your hands, these glasses are more than a tool for vision. They’re a symbol of your potential to make a difference, to aid global vision impairment issues, and to contribute to our shared sustainability goals.


Where can I donate my old glasses?

Organizations such as Lions Clubs International, New Eyes, and OneSight have donation programs for old glasses.

Can I recycle glasses at my local recycling facility?

Not all facilities accept glasses due to their specific composition. It’s best to check with your local facility or look for specialized eyewear recycling programs.

What creative projects can I do with old glasses?

You can transform your glasses into photo frames, wall art, or even an unusual chandelier. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.

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