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Astronomers Without Borders to begin eclipse glasses redistribution program

What were the hottest items in KC just a few hours ago, are now no doubt ending up in trash cans and recycling bins across the country. But if you’ve still got your eclipse glasses, don’t throw them away!

If you haven’t already thrown them in the trash, here are a few things to note for those who would like to donate, reuse or recycle them.

NASA says that if your glasses are compliant with the ISO 12312-2 safety standard, and it will say so on the frame, you can use them for the next eclipse that covers part of the U.S. in 2024.  Just make sure that the filters or lenses aren’t scratched, punctured or torn.

NASA says that some glasses are printed with warnings that you shouldn’t look through them for more than three minutes at a time and that they should be discarded after three years. NASA says those warnings are outdated and as long as they are compliant with the ISO 12312-2 standard, they are fine.

Now, if you don’t think you’ll want to keep the glasses around for seven years, or that you’ll be able to find them, there are a few things you can do with them.  First, you can donate them to Astronomers Without Borders , a group that helps astronomers in other parts of the world.

The next eclipses will be in South America in 2019 and 2020.  On their site, they ask that you don’t just send them your glasses right now, but they’ll be coordinating larger collection efforts soon. More information about the program, and the best place to send the glasses, will be announced soon, the organization posted on Facebook.

“Give your eclipse glasses a second chance! Astronomers Without Borders and its partners will be announcing a program to collect glasses after the eclipse, to be sent to schools in South America and Asia when eclipses cross those continents in 2019. Information on how you can participate in this program to spread STEM resources around the world will be coming soon so gather them up. Don’t waste. Donate!” the organization wrote in a Facebook post.

The organization said the response to the redistribution program has been overwhelming, and will be announcing the specific places you can send your glasses. In the meantime, they encourage you to collect your glasses from friends, neighbors, or schools to send when details are provided.