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The 2024 Total Solar Eclipse will go over the continental United States on April 8, 2024 — including a large swath of southern Illinois and Missouri.

How to safely recycle or donate your eclipse glasses

Meera Jain, 6, of Chesterfield, Mo. watches the solar eclipse with her mom, Julia, 36, on Monday, April 8, 2024. The last solar eclipse seen in the United States was in 2017.
Cristina Fletes-Mach
St. Louis Public Radio
Meera Jain, 6, of Chesterfield, watches the solar eclipse with her mom, Julia, 36, on Monday.

The highly anticipated total solar eclipse of April 8 has come and gone, and St. Louis City Recycles is reminding residents of options to recycle or donate eclipse safety glasses.

The next total solar eclipse won’t happen until August 2026, according to NASA. It will cover portions of the Arctic, eastern Greenland, Iceland and northern Spain. The next total solar eclipse in the U.S. will occur in 2044.

Having the appropriate eyewear for the celestial event is just as important as disposing of it properly, according to St. Louis City Recycles, a city office under the Parks, Recreation and Forestry department.

The protective film on the eclipse glasses should be taken out before recycling the cardboard. This is because the lenses of the glasses are not recyclable. While the lenses should be thrown away, the cardboard can be placed into any cardboard recycling bin at home or in public.

“If they want to recycle it themselves, you can put the cardboard in your recycling bin in your house, but not the eyeglass film,” a spokesperson from St. Louis City Recycles said Tuesday. “There’s been lots of stories about people watching the eclipse, so now there’s lots of glasses to be properly cared for.”

The glasses can also be kept for future eclipse viewing, as long as they meet safety standards, according to Eclipse America.

Recyclables typically include paper, flattened cardboard, plastic bottles and containers, glass bottles and jars, metal food and beverage cans, food and beverage cartons, according to St. Louis City Recycles. All recyclable items should also be dry.

Home recycling bins can be purchased for $1 by calling 314-772-4646 while supplies last.

Margaret Weibking, 75, holds up a pair of alien-inspired solar eclipse glasses on Monday, April 8, 2024, in Ste. Genevieve. The last solar eclipse seen in the United States was 2017.
Eric Lee/Eric Lee
St. Louis Public Radio
Margaret Weibking, 75, holds up a pair of alien-inspired solar eclipse glasses on Monday in Ste. Genevieve.

Donating the glasses

Eclipse glasses can also be mailed in whole by Aug. 1 to Eclipse Glasses USA — an organization that collects the glasses for kids in underserved communities globally. The group is seeking glasses that are relatively unscathed, meaning they have no scratches, punctures, tears or any other form of damage that might compromise the protective quality of the glasses, company leaders said.

“This program is designed to ensure that as many people as possible, especially school children in countries with limited resources, can safely experience the wonder of a solar eclipse,” officials from Eclipse Glasses USA said in an online statement.

Glasses can be shipped to Eclipse Glasses USA LLC, P.O. Box 50571, Provo, UT 84605. Another option to consider is Astronomers Without Borders, a nonprofit that has been providing donated solar eclipse glasses since 2008 to people who may not have a safe way to view eclipses. The group has partnered with libraries, schools, museums and other businesses across the U.S. and Canada to collect and recycle the glasses.

Thousands of eclipse glasses have been dispersed to South America, Asia and Africa, including some donated by Americans after the 2017 solar eclipse. One national collecting partner is Warby Parker, with more than 200 retail stores across the U.S., which is accepting used solar eclipse glasses.

Lacretia Wimbley is a general assignment reporter for St. Louis Public Radio.