Astronomers Without Borders wants to encourage people to donate their used eclipse glasses, so that they can be redistributed to parts of the world that have eclipses of their own on the way.
Spend a lot of money on eclipse glasses earlier this month? You definitely aren’t alone. Hey, you might even have paid extra for them on eBay because you waited too long. (I mean, that’s what I did.)
But now that the eclipse is over, what should you do with those glasses? The trash bin seems like a bit of a waste considering how hard it was to get them in the first place.
Fortunately, a nonprofit has another idea: Astronomers Without Borders, a group that aims to share the joy of astronomy with people around the world, would be happy to take them off your hands.
AWB is working to collect glasses it can redistribute to eclipse-watchers in Asia and South America when the next solar eclipse hits the earth in 2019.
“The excitement of the eclipse in the U.S. is the same in undeveloped countries, but they rarely have access to simple things like this, especially in rural areas,” the group’s president, Mike Simmons, told NBC’s Today earlier this week. “We’ll see that they get distributed to schools and other organizations that would never have this chance otherwise.”
Of course, if you’re willing to wait for a while and can find a good place to store the glasses, there’s nothing wrong with holding onto them if you so choose. The next eclipse is expected to hit the U.S. in 2024—and NASA says eclipse glasses produced after 2015 will last indefinitely as long as they don’t get damaged, according to Smithsonian.com.