Donated Glasses

Donated Glasses

Donated Glasses & What Happens to Them

Have any spare old glasses lying around? Ever wonder what happens to donated glasses?

This is everything you need to know about it.

The Life of Donated Glasses - Part 1

Who Collects Them

Lions club of New Zealand have some extraordinary volunteers in three main locations that collect, clean, and sort thousands of glasses for distribution overseas.

Article on Karori Lions and the work they do

Giving Sight

The glasses get taken to the Pacific Islands through NZ-based charities, notably VOSO (Volunteer Ophthalmic Services Overseas), who have over the past 40 years helped those in need with free glasses and free cataract surgery.

There is a huge need in the Pacific Islands, and great work is being done by Lions & VOSO to get to the people there.  

But not all donated glasses are suitable for that purpose.

In fact, only around 20% of donated glasses end up getting used in the Pacific. Until now, most of the rest have ended up in our landfills instead.

The Life of Donated Glasses - Part 2

Yes about 80% of donated glasses get thrown out!

Some have to be thrown out due to poor quality, but most are binned due to the lenses in the frames. If the prescriptions are not likely to easily match what is needed elsewhere, they most often need to be thrown out (eg, big differences between the eyes; progressive lenses - which generally need to be custom-fitted; very high prescriptions).

Until now, it hasn't been practical to refurbish donated glasses frames with new lenses.

Look at what is coming through...

We are now working with Lions clubs to refurbish donated glasses for use in our Foureyes Foundation programme in New Zealand schools. This means we can provide high-quality glasses frames for free.

Here are some frames that we recently found in the donation pile - they are brand new, and would have ended up in the tip otherwise.

Also these ones..

Just found these ones that our daughter took a fancy to (she helps me sort out the donated glasses).

We take out the lenses and reuse the frames in our Foundation.

This is one of many pairs that have been reused for our program to make glasses more accessible to families that need them.

Upcycled Glasses!

So here are the donated glasses that we 'upcycle', and provide for free through the charity and clinics.

This means that 60% of glasses donated by Kiwis are being re-gifted back into New Zealand.


Reducing Waste

Donated glasses have shown economical, and social benefits to people in the Pacific.

Now they are also helping Kiwi families

Thank you

- Ravi -

There will always be waste from donated glasses, but we can do our part to help keep that at a minimum.

For starters, if you have glasses that you like, you can just change the lenses in them - there are cost effective options available through us, and through other optometrists.

If you wish to donate glasses, most of them will be reused - either through donation to the Pacific Islands (via VOSO), or reused through our charity.

There are still challenges with the remaining glasses that we have not been able to reuse, but we continue to be inspired by amazing Kiwis and will work towards further reducing the impact.

Check out Zero Waste in NZ for other inspiring things that is being done in this space.


Read More

Keep Your Frames, Change Your Lenses.

VOSO - Helping Pacific Islanders See

Lions NZ, Collecting Glasses For The Community

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