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You’re probably done with those eclipse glasses. How to keep them out of the landfill

Robert Arthur, of Watertown, Mass., uses protective eclipse glasses on Monday. He probably could use some tips for recycling or reusing now.
Robert Arthur, of Watertown, Mass., uses protective eclipse glasses on Monday. He probably could use some tips for recycling or reusing now. AP

So you spent your money, time or both getting a super-dark pair of ISO 12312-2 certified glasses to safely watch Monday morning’s eclipse. And now it’s gone, and you’ve got a souvenir with marginal actual value.

Before you toss those cardboard specs into a trash can, here’s how you can make better use of them.

The super-dark lenses don’t go bad, unlike eclipse-viewing lenses made before that ISO certification was established. Take it from NASA on this one. Where the old kind had a three-year service life, the new ones will endure to the next American eclipse, less than 6 years away on April 8, 2024.

You’ll need to do a bit of traveling from the South Sound to see that next eclipse, however. The path of totality — words we’ve heard more in the last month than in several decades combined — runs through that stretch of America diagonally between Durango, Mexico, and Montreal, Canada.

If you’re in the U.S. and west of Missouri, you’re not anywhere near it, so traveling or paying it forward and mailing away the glasses are your reuse options.

Astronomers Without Borders, a nonprofit, is accepting donated eclipse glasses to send them to other countries for future eclipses. They’re accepting donated glasses mailed to Explore Scientific, 1010 S. 48th Street, Springdale, AR 72762, and said on Facebook they’ll announce more donation centers soon.

If you’d prefer just to be rid of the flimsy cardboard ones, pop the plastic lenses out of their cardboard frames before you throw the frames into the recycling bin, because the lenses would need different recycling. A specialist with Oregon Metro in Portland told Earth911.org that the solar filter lens doesn’t belong in household recycling. Neither does the plastic frame of sturdier glasses.

Derrick Nunnally: 253-597-8693, @dcnunnally

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