One of the odd things we collect for recycling at our 13 different M.e.t. recycling centers is eyeglasses. As your eyes age, most people need to change prescriptions and they often get new frames. We collect these and partner with area Lion’s Clubs to get these glasses into the hands of people who need them.
The process is pretty simple. We have an attached a mailbox on the attendant’s building at each location where you put the glasses and cases. A member of a local Lion’s Club goes by on a regular basis to collect them, and then gets the glasses to Neighbor for Neighbor. Neighbor for Neighbor is a local social service organization who has purchased a machine that reads the prescription of the eyeglass so they can be re-distributed to populations that can’t afford new glasses. The machine instantly sorts the eyeglass thickness and curvature so an easy match can be made with a new user’s prescription.
We get an amazing number of eyeglasses each year. On average, we receive around 2,000 eyeglasses annually and some years we have doubled that. I think one of the best parts of the campaign is to work with the Lions Clubs because it gives us a chance to talk about recycling to the club and promote other things like composting and green habits. Service Clubs really do give you the best citizens, and the members are always willing to help your cause. My father has been a member of the Red Fork Lions Club for most of my adult life, and the work and friendships have really enhanced his life.
I know that in the big picture, throwing away a few pairs of eyeglasses isn’t that bad a thing for the environment. The glasses and cases don’t weigh very much and don’t take up a lot of space in the average trashcan. But they represent exactly what we are trying to accomplish by recycling. Just because they are not worth anything to you doesn’t mean they are not valuable. Why would you throw away anything that is more valuable than trash?
If your eyes have changed and you have a few pairs of eyeglasses in a drawer, bring them to one of our recycling centers. We will collect them, the Lions Club will pick them up and then Neighbor for Neighbor will process to distribute to one of our neighbors in need.