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Dozens of viewers called and emailed asking what to with their eclipse glasses. The questions range from how to recycle, store or donate their pairs.
To put the mass amount of glasses in perspective, American Paper Optics – one of 15 companies that met safety standards – planned to produce 100 million pairs of eclipse glasses.
WHAT WE FOUND
What you can do with your eclipse glasses depends on the kind you have and the condition they are in.
Some people might want to hang onto their glasses since the next solar eclipse to pass over the U.S. will happen April 8, 2024.
But what if your glasses say they expire in three years?
“Such warnings are outdated and do not apply to eclipse viewers compliant with the ISO 12312-2 standard adopted in 2015,” according to NASA’s website.
That’s the American Astronomical Society plans to create instructions for the warnings manufacturers put inside the glasses to avoid pitfalls like recalled glasses and confusing expiration dates, spokesman Rick Fienberg said.
But how you store them matters.
“I wouldn’t put them in the junk drawer and pull them out in five years and say, ‘Oh let’s see if they are still good,’” said Kelley Jackson-Condon, a Golden-based optometrist with 25 years of experience.
She recommended carefully wrapping them in tissue paper or bubble wrap.
Bubble wrap may seem a bit extreme, but it’s also important not to bend the lens.
“They can scratch very easily,” Jackson-Condon said. “If they scratch, they are not going to be as effective or as safe as they were because that coating … is what gives you that give you that protection.”
To protect her eyes, Jackson-Condon plans to buy a new pair.
To check whether your glasses could be kept, the American Astronomical Society compiled a list of suppliers that meet the requirements.
A recycling focused outlet called Earth 911 said people can remove the lenses from their eclipse glasses and throw the paper or cardboard frames in the recycle bin.
Glasses with plastic frames are likely not accepted with plastic recyclables, so people can toss them in the trash or save the spectacles as a souvenir.
When it comes to recycling the lens, call a nearby camera store because some will recycle them with camera film.
The Denver Museum of Nature & Science plans to collect eclipse glasses at the ticket counter through Sept. 30. The museum is offering $2 off general admission per person for each pair of glasses donated.
The museum’s program development manager Treloar Bower said the plan is to ship the glasses to Astronomers Without Borders.
The organization’s website says it will donate the glasses to school children in Asia and South America for the 2019 eclipse.
9NEWS contacted Astronomers Without Borders, but we didn’t hear back.
The group is run by an amateur astronomer, and its phone number goes to a personal line for the founder and his wife.
The website doesn’t offer instructions on how to package or ship your eclipse glasses to ensure they can be reused.
Astronomers Without Borders’ website says it sent more than 13,000 pairs of glasses to school children in Africa for a 2013 eclipse, but we weren’t able to verify how that worked.
The organization’s Facebook page says it will announce more shipping locations and details soon.