Eyeglass Recycling

Every year the Lions recycle and distribute millions of pairs of eyeglasses to poor people around the world.  With the help of their communities and tens of thousands of eye care professionals, Lions collect used eyeglasses and send them to 17 recycling centers around the world.  There the glasses are cleaned, sorted and boxed, ready to send on medical missions around the world.

The Johnson City Lions work with every eye care professional in Johnson City and Washington County as well as businesses, churches and community groups to collect many thousands of discarded glasses every year. We are very fortunate to have a recycling center near us, in Roanoke, Virginia.  Twice a year we join other East Tennessee Lions for a day of “Volunteer” service in Roanoke.

Frequently asked questions

Where can I donate glasses?

Recycle unused glasses wherever you see this box. Thank you!

Every eye care professional in Johnson City and Washington County collects them (some for their own charitable efforts, some for ours, and we’re OK with that).  Many churches also collect.  Large collection boxes are located in front of both Johnson City WalMarts

 What sort of glasses do you want?

Almost everything!  Childrens’ glasses are in short supply and especially appreciated.  Glasses that are too badly damaged to use or too hard to fit are recycled for the materials – the money earned helps the program support itself.

Who gets the glasses?

Almost all are distributed in poor countries throughout Central America, the Caribbean, Africa, southern Asia, and the Pacific Islands.  Restrictive laws in most developed countries make it impractical to distribute there.

Are they distributed free?

Yes.  In almost all cases, the recipients receive an eye exam and glasses free of charge.

Sorting glasses to take to Roanoke

Do you use everything?

Almost.  Loose lenses, cases, and plastic frames are discarded.  Trifocals and progressive lens glasses are impractical to fit, so they are recycled.  If in doubt, donate it and we’ll determine.

How can I help?

 Where can I learn more?

At the Lions International web site – click here.

Or email us with your questions

I need eye glasses.  Can you help?

Go to the Sight Conservation page.


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