Earth Day is just around the corner, and it’s got us thinking about some outside-the-box ways to reuse and recycle. Take those old eyeglasses, for example. If your prescription has changed so that they’re no longer useful as a backup pair, we’ve got a few suggestions for how to give them a new lease on life.

Smart Accents

Feeling crafty? Old eyeglasses can make some seriously cute accessories. Take a peek at some of the creations over at Zanne Avenue, where designer Suzanne Schmid turns homeless frames into clever and eye-catching necklaces. Or check out crafter KB VanHorn’s tutorial for turning them into simple, fun brooches and pins.

Simple Swap

If the lenses are giving you migraines but you still love those classic frames, don’t despair: many opticians will swap them out to match your new prescription. If you’re less attached to last-year’s look, this is one way to a set of spares for when you leave your shiny new ones on top of the car and accidentally drive over them. (Or you can always check Zenni Optical's extensive inventory for a look-alike frame. We bet you'll find one.)

Bright Idea

You probably don’t have quite enough old glasses on hand to pull this one off, but we’ve got to share the fun anyway. Salvage king Stuart Haygarth put a thousand or so discarded pairs to a particularly clever use in his Spectacle chandelier. Think how fabulous this would look hanging over your dining room table.

Fresh Perspective

Use those old spectacles to take those snapshots to the next level. The champion shutterbugs over at Photojojo have a tutorial for transforming your old lenses into a totally cool fisheye for your digital SLR camera. It's so easy, it's almost silly – think glasses lens and electrical tape.

Paying It Forward

Last but certainly not least, you can give those old spectacles a new life by donating them to those in need. The Lions Club has made eyeglasses recycling one of their key programs, collecting them at Lions recycling centers around the country and distributing them to people in developing countries with vision problems.

Safety First

But before you get too excited about all those uses for your old glasses, make sure you get yourself your updated pair. Zenni Optical has a stellar range of very fun frames at wallet-friendly prices. Our favorite picks this week feature fun bursts of spring colors: either subtly fuschia-spiked, spring green with floral accents, or a classic sky-blue cat eye.

 

 

 

 

Image credits: Zanne Avenue, Stuart Haygarth, Lions Club