I got my first pair of eyeglasses when I was about 13 years old. That was one doctor’s appointment that I didn’t mind! My new glasses helped me to do one of my favorite things: read for hours in comfort.

At the eye doctor’s office, I got a very early lesson in sustainability. They had a Lions Club box where you could donate usable eyeglasses for people in need. That helped me realize how lucky I was that my family could afford glasses — and that there were others who could not afford them. When we needed a new prescription, we donated our old glasses at the eye doctor’s office.

A few years ago, I requested an eyeglasses donation box for the lab where I work. To date, we have donated over 700 pairs of glasses. And our CO2 footprint to make these donations is no more than what we already create getting to work. I’m grateful that children can go to school and learn, and adults can work and support their families, because of our donated eyeglasses.

With my current insurance, I can get a free pair of glasses every year, but I don’t. I never bought into the attitude, “they are free, so why not?” How many pairs could I reasonably use? If my prescription stays the same and my glasses are in good condition, I will keep the same pair for many years (with one for backup in case the others break). And when I need a stronger prescription, I will put my old glasses in the donation box at work.

Do you have usable eyeglasses you don’t use? Check out your eye doctor’s office; they may collect them for reuse. Also, many Walmart and Sam’s Club locations partner with the Lions Club to accept eyeglasses donations. You can even contact the Lion’s Club and request that they set up a box at your library (I did this for my local library!) or at your workplace. And don’t forget Earth 911 Recycling Search — just enter your ZIP code to find eyeglasses recycling near you.

Please donate your usable eyeglasses! Think how good you’ll feel knowing that someone can see better thanks to your donation. Not only that, you’ll be keeping something useful out of the landfill!

Feature image by Jorge Luna from Pixabay. This article was originally published on March 25, 2020.

By Joanna Lacey

Joanna Lacey lives in New York and has collected thousands of ideas from the frugal habits of her mother and grandmother. You can find her on Facebook at Joanna the Green Maven.