Spectacles Recycling

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Spectacles Recycling

Spectacles Recycling

Contact details

Name: Lions Clubs National Headquarters are working with Chichester Lions Club.  Spectacles can be sent to either the headquarters address or Chichester Lions Club for recycling.
Phone: Please contact Lions Clubs National HQ on 0121 441 4544 to arrange your delivery.
New Website:

Please check out the new website  https://lionsrecycling.co.uk/ 

If you are sending to Chichester Lions Club, please make contact through www.chilions.org.uk/specs.htm 

Collect. Donate. Sort. Recycle.

Key information: Processing recycled spectacles

Lions Clubs throughout the British Isles collect unwanted and damaged spectacles. These are then sent to either Lions Clubs National Headquarters in Birmingham or Chichester Lions Club. Tens of thousands of spectacles are recycled each year. All donations are examined by a team of Lions and other volunteers in the recycling workshop. Sorted pairs of glasses may then be sent for grading and distribution by Medico France in Le Havre.

Chichester Lions Club sends spectacles directly to contacts running eye clinics in Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, Ghana, Nigeria, and Nepal. In addition, volunteers from the Unite for Sight charity are supplied with spectacles to take with them on missions to countries across the world.

Lions Club National Headquarters in Birmingham sends spectacles to the National Police Aid Charity to be sent to the Gambia for eye camps, the Army working in Mali, and through a variety of independent charities operating in Nigeria, Chad, Tanzania, and Bangladesh.

How to donate spectacles

To donate your spectacles, please make contact with either Lions Clubs National Headquarters on 0121 441 4544 or Chichester Lions Club via www.chilions.org.uk/specs.htm Donations of hearing aids and equipment can also be included for forwarding to the hearing specialist. 

Link to article on Lions Hearing Equipment recycling programme

Help for local sight-related projects

Scrap metal salvaged from broken and unsuitable spectacles raises funds that support the sorting operation and enable Chichester Lions Club to give financial support to eye-related projects in the UK and overseas.

Since the project began over £675k has been generated from recycled materials with over £486k donated to sight related charitable causes.

As the spectacle recycling project is a national effort, Lions Clubs in the UK are invited to nominate projects in their local areas for support.

The spectacle recycling story

Chichester Lions Club began collecting old glasses for recycling back in 1967. The initiative really took off in 1980 with a delivery of 700 sorted specs to the Missionary Optical Society (MOS) in Devon for use in their clinics in Kenya and India.

Gradually other Lions Clubs started feeding their recycled spectacles through Chichester. So in 1985, a link was established with Le Havre Lions and Medico France. Over the following five years some 100,000 specs, 43,000 lenses, and 10,000 frames were sent to Medico France while still delivering to MOS in Devon as many pairs of sorted specs as needed.

In 1988, another outlet was established through Vision Aid Overseas, and in 1990, a national campaign with Boots the Chemist and Help The Aged produced 460,000 pairs of specs in six months. Once sorted they went to places such as Cameroon, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Sri Lanka, India, Zanzibar, Jamaica, Bolivia, and Brazil.

Although the scale of this campaign stretched the Chichester operation to its limits, Lions clubs continue to collect hundreds of thousands of spectacles each year. They work with local shops, surgeries, and other organisations that kindly host collection bins on their premises.

Spectacle donations arrive in Chichester in boxes and bags of all shapes and sizes. They are expertly sorted by Lions members and volunteers. Those sent onto Medico France are then cleaned and graded for use in eye camps in Africa, India, and Eastern Europe.

Through contacts with individuals and charities based in the UK, Chichester Lions make spectacles available for eye-camp projects overseas. Support is also provided for volunteers traveling on Unite For Sight projects who re-use spectacles for their individual projects.

Every year over 300,000 pairs of spectacles are sent to Medico France. Indeed, donations by UK Lions Clubs, recycled through Chichester, account for more than half of the total number of spectacles processed by Medico France.

Lions are grateful to Fraser Freight of Portsmouth for transporting sorted spectacles free of charge to Medico France in Le Havre.

Special thanks are given to The Apuldram Centre for providing Chichester Lions Club with the facilities for its workshop.

Visits to the Chichester workshop can be arranged with prior notice, please get in touch with Chichester Lions through www.chilions.org.uk/specs.htm

Posters and pre-printed recycling stickers 

The following posters and recycling sticker for flip-top bins can be ordered through Lions National Headquarters, telephone 0121 441 4544.

Update on the Recycling Operation at Lions Clubs National Headquarters

Update on Recycling – 5 Dec 2023

File size: 951.72 KB
Created: 07-12-2023
Updated: 07-12-2023
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