Spring Eyeglasses Recycling Results

In an effort to help those in need see better, University Facilities and Services holds a biannual recycling program to collect prescription and non-prescription eyeglasses, reading glasses, sunglasses, and frames. Once the glasses are collected, they are sent to the Lions Eye Bank at Rochester where they are passed on to The Lions Club International to be cleaned, sorted, and packaged. The donated eyeglasses are distributed to people in need, both domestically and in developing countries. Over 1,200 pairs collected this spring will benefit a mission in Guatemala.

In the spirit of the annual Campus Race to Zero Waste competition (formerly known as RecycleMania), the spring program includes a departmental competition in which departments can win for either collecting the most pairs or creating the most “eye-catching” box. A record-breaking 15 departments competed this year, collecting 528 pairs of glasses. The mail-in and drop-off options received 597 pairs of glasses. Additionally, the Barnes and Nobles Bookstore donated 129 pairs of reading glasses, bringing the grand total of 1,254 pairs from this year’s collection!

Congratulations to Infectious Disease whose rainbow-themed box (pictured left) won most “eye-catching”.  Strong Social Work and Patient & Family Services collected 117 pairs, earning the most pairs collected acknowledgment.

All glasses are sent to the Lions Club International, a leading organization in collecting, recycling, and donating glasses in their efforts to improve sight and prevent blindness among those in need. The Lions Recycle for Sight program has collected thousands of pairs of used eyeglasses, sunglasses, new frames, and other equipment. Since the start of the eyeglasses collection program in August 2014, the University community has collected a grand total of 8,343 pairs of glasses.

A special thanks to Karen Guarino, who is now retired from the Lions Eye Bank at Rochester, but continued to volunteer to help with this year’s collection. Facilities Team Green would also like to thank Joann Beach who also assisted with the collection, the Flaum Eye Institute for their continued support, and everyone who generously participated in this program to help others in need. Also, thank you to Mail Services for picking up all the collection boxes.

Pictures of all the decorated boxes are available on the UR Sustainable Facebook page here. It’s never too early to begin preparing for the next collection, so continue to collect glasses for the next competition scheduled this August!


Written by Emily Su, Class of 2022