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Central Texas has some of the best seats in the country for the once-in-a-lifetime total solar eclipse April 8.

Don't throw away those eclipse glasses. Here's how to recycle them in Austin.

A girl wearing an orange shirt looks up at the partial solar eclipse with viewing glasses.
Patricia Lim
KUT News
After the eclipse is over, Austin will be collecting solar eclipse glasses to recycle and donate to the Astronomers Without Borders program.

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Once the eclipse has come and gone, you might be tempted to throw out your viewing glasses. The next total solar eclipse in Central Texas won’t be for at least 300 more years.

But that doesn’t mean eclipses won’t happen elsewhere in the world.

On Monday, Austin will begin collecting used eclipse glasses to donate to the nonprofit Astronomers Without Borders. Recycling bins will be placed across the city at viewing events in parks, on the UT campus and at Austin schools. Visitors can drop them in designated boxes.

Bins will also be placed at all Austin Parks and Recreation facilities, including senior centers and cultural facilities, and Austin Public Libraries through April 26.

Jessica Gilzow, nature programs manager for the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, said the glasses will be shipped to the Astronomers Without Borders program, which will repurpose them for future eclipse viewing across the globe.

“We wanted to make sure that the glasses didn’t just end up in the landfill or become litter,” Gizlow said. “So we thought that this would be a great opportunity to take these resources and try to repurpose them through this [Astronomers Without Borders] program so they can go to communities that might not have the same abilities to obtain eclipse glasses.”

The nonprofit organization began in 2008.

Andrew Fazekas, a spokesperson for Astronomers Without Borders, says the goal is to bring people together through astronomy to build community regardless of political, geographical, cultural or gender identities and beliefs.

The organization also delivers astronomy and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) tools and resources to underserved communities around the world.

“That includes bringing eclipse glasses to schools and libraries and other cities across the globe,” Fazekas said.

This is the second time the organization is collecting glasses. After the 2017 total solar eclipse, Fazekas said, the group collected more than 3 million glasses from 1,000 collection sites in the eclipse's path.

He said those glasses were stored and sent out across the world. The last batch went out this past fall to places like Chile, Ethiopia and Sri Lanka.

The nonprofit is hoping to recreate that success. It believes there will likely be many more glasses this time around, noting the path of totality goes through highly populated areas across the U.S. and Canada.

In addition to the many Austin locations, several other sites will also be collecting glasses, including eyewear retailer Warby Parker.

“It’s humbling to see so many organizations — big and small — coming together for this effort,” Fazekas said. “Because of the way these eclipse glasses are manufactured, they are not very eco-friendly, so they would potentially end up in the landfill. Let’s prevent that and put them to good use, and let others less fortunate around the world experience this wondrous celestial event safely.”

Gilzow says the recycle bins will be clearly marked at each location starting Monday. Glasses can also be dropped off at the Austin Nature and Science Center. For more information go here.

For those looking to help further, Astronomers Without Borders is also fundraising to ship the glasses around the world. You can donate on the website. The organization has also launched a solar eclipse viewing app called "One Eclipse" where the proceeds go to support the recycling program.

Luz Moreno-Lozano is the Austin City Hall reporter at KUT. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on X @LuzMorenoLozano.
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