Don't throw away your solar eclipse glasses! You can actually use them to help people

Don't just toss 'em – you can actually help people with them.

You dropped $30 on a pair of solar eclipse glasses so your retinas didn't burn.

And now you've got what seems like a useless pair of ultra-dark glasses sitting on your counter.

But don't throw them away – you can actually do some good and help people with them.

Astronomers Without Borders is asking people to hang on to the glasses so they can collect and donate them.

Who will get the specs? Students in South America and Asia – continents that will see a total solar eclipse in 2019.

“Many schools in developing countries don’t have resources for science education and this is a rare opportunity that inspires students and teachers and shows them that science is something they can do," Astronomers Without Borders President Mike Simmons told Gizmodo

The group is still getting the donation process sorted out, but promises details soon. If you want to take immediate action, you can mail your glasses to them:

Explore Scientific
1010 S. 48th Street
Springdale, AR 72762

Or collect eclipse glasses from your friends/family/coworkers to become an official Astronomers Without Borders collection site.

Keep an eye on the group's Facebook page and website for more info.

What about recycling them?

If that seems like a hassle, you've got a few other options:

– Save them for the next solar eclipse you happen to be around for – though not if the lenses are messed up. As NASA puts it, if the glasses are ISO 12312-2 and "the filters aren't scratched, punctured, or torn, you may reuse them indefinitely." That's thinking ahead.

– Recycle them. Or at least the part that can be recycled. Earth911 says most cardboard glasses can be recycled – just make sure to pop the lenses out first. Those lenses probably will need to get trashed, but you could also call camera stores to ask if they can process the film. Plastic frames can't be recycled.

– Or get creative. Keep them as a souvenir or make some type of art – earrings are suggested in this story.

Next Up