Responsible Disposal of Eyewear

In developed countries, prescription eye wear is often subsidized by insurance. As such, it is a luxury often taken for granted.

When frames suffer the slightest damage or go out of fashion, they are often tossed in the trash.

A major element of living a sustainable life is reducing waste – or keeping materials out of landfills.

If you no longer have a use for your glasses or contacts, we have four suggestions for responsibly disposing of them.

Donate the Old Frames

Most eye doctors will accept donations, if you want to donate your old frames. Donating your old frames means they can be up-cycled.  They can be passed onto a charity or another party that will distribute them to people who are in need and unable to afford new frames.  There have been some cases when people have even received incentives to donate old frames, like discounted replacement lenses, discount frames, or even discount contact lenses,

People with a genuine need for sight correction but without the means to obtain glasses are unlikely to care what kind of design the glasses are.  They will gladly accept whatever frame they can get. For an alternative means of donating, the Lion’s Club International is one such non-profit charitable organization that can take care of donations.

Sell Them

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Whether a dated style or a coveted luxury brand, there will always be a market for used frames. You can list them for a fee at or for free on Craigslist, or even at one of the many virtual garage sale groups on social community platforms such as Facebook.

Although you probably will not recoup much of the initial purchase price, some money is better than none.

Even a little money earned from selling your old frames can go towards the funding of your next pair.

Reuse Them

If your last pair is still in perfect condition, you might as well reuse the frames.

This saves the planet from additional harsh plastic chemicals being used (and dumped into our rivers). You can put the money you’ll save on frames toward upgraded lenses.

Even if you no longer have need the frames for everyday use, consider turning them into sunglasses or reading glasses instead.

Reusing frames can also mean buying used frames instead of new ones. It would be good to check out garage sales in your area as well as the aforementioned online trading platforms.

Reusing and Recycling Packaging

Cardboard boxes used for packaging glasses, and plastic lens holders can be discarded into regular recycling bins.

Eyeglass frame bags can be used 24 ways, and lens cases can be used as alternate storage devices for small items like screws or watch batteries.

If you travel, these containers make great storage for lotions and creams you will be using, instead of lugging large full-sized bottles around. They can even double up as pill boxes.

Just be sure to label accordingly so that you take the correct containers with you!

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