Solar eclipse glasses: How to save, recycle, and donate

Many Americans picked up special "eclipse glasses" to see the solar eclipse on Monday. 

But what should people do with their glasses once the rare and striking phenomenon is over? 

According to NASA and other experts, there are a few options. 

Save eclipse glasses

If your eclipse glasses are compliant with the ISO 12312-2 safety standard, NASA said you may look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through them for as long as you wish. 


Pupils, wearing protective glasses, look at a partial solar eclipse.(Credit: Marco de Swart / ANP / AFP) / Netherlands via Getty Images)

This means, if the filters aren't scratched, punctured, or torn, you may reuse them indefinitely. 

Some glasses are printed with warnings stating that you shouldn't look through them for more than 3 minutes at a time and that you should discard them if they are more than 3 years old. 

However, according to the space agency, these warnings are outdated and do not apply to eclipse viewers compliant with the ISO 12312-2 standard adopted in 2015. 

Recycle eclipse glasses

According to, you can also choose to recycle your eclipse glasses by removing the protective solar-filter lenses and tossing paper frames into a recycling bin. 

You’ll likely need to toss out your solar-filter lenses, but the frames are usually paper or cardboard, so they’re likely acceptable with other paper recyclables.

Be aware; plastic frames will likely not be acceptable with traditional plastic recycling, so you’ll want to trash these. 

Donate glasses

You can also consider donating your glasses to Astronomers Without Borders (AWB), a non-profit organization running its second nationwide eclipse glasses recycling drive.

The group collected tens of thousands of glasses for distribution in South America, Asia and Africa after the 2017 Great American Total Solar Eclipse

The business ships repurposed glasses for use by underserved communities around the world for future solar eclipses.

AWB has teamed up with more than 300 schools, museums, city governments, businesses, organizations and libraries that will collect the glasses, so check with these organizations and businesses to find out where you can donate yours.

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If you’re unsure where to look, companies like Warby Parker will be participating. If your solar eclipse glasses are still in usable condition (not bent, scratched, or broken), you can bring them back to any of their stores any time before April 30. They will then send all donated solar eclipse glasses to AWB, who will then distribute them to educators and students around the world.

This story was reported from Los Angeles.