Solar eclipse mania 2024 has come to an end. The sun and the moon have once again parted ways. Whether you traveled great distances to view "totality," or peeked at the eclipse through the clouds, hopefully you got a glimpse of this rare celestial wonder.

If you are reading this right now, it means you did not get blinded by the sun's corona. Congratulations! (It also means the eclipse did not bright about the apocalypse — also good news!) When observing the eclipse, you likely protected your eyes by using those ever-popular "eclipse glasses" obtained from an online marketplace, convenience store, library, museum, etc.

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Now that the Great American Solar Eclipse is over and done, the big question is what to do with those eclipse glasses. They are too dark to be used as everyday sunglasses. And too flimsy for industrial applications like welding. So it must be time to toss those eclipse glasses right in the garbage, right?

No way! Reduce, reuse, recycle! I came up with at least six alternative uses for those magical pieces of cardboard and plastic in our post-eclipse world.

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One astronomer's trash is another astronomer's treasure, right? Here are two reputable options for donating your gently used, undamaged eclipse glasses:

Astronomers Without Borders will send solar filter glasses to Africa, Asia, North and South America for future annular and total eclipse events. They apparently are accepting donations at Warby Parker outlets, of which there are several in New Jersey.

Eclipse Glasses USA will specifically pass along donated eclipse glasses to students in Latin America, to view the October 2024 annular eclipse. You do need to mail donations at your own expense to P.O. Box 50571, Provo, UT 84605 by August 1, 2024.

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Keep for Next Time

Solar eclipses happen around the globe every single year. While here in New Jersey, we will not have another solid view of an eclipse until 2044, there are a few partial and annular eclipses that will be visible. It might be worthwhile to stash away a set of eclipse glasses in a drawer somewhere. You never know?

Keep as a Memento

Schoolchildren especially will remember the 2024 eclipse, since many of them have studied and observed it in class. I think it is totally appropriate to save their eclipse glasses as a keepsake in a photo album, memory box, etc.

If anyone is planning a time capsule to be buried in 2024, eclipse glasses might also be a worthy inclusion.

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Play Dressup

I bet you could think of several Halloween costumes that could make use of a pair of eclipse glasses. (Or even just the lenses.) From creepy government agents, to aliens, to the Blues Brothers, to an "eclipse chaser," it might be worthwhile to hang on to a pair for a few months for an easy costume idea.

Or, if your kids have a "dress up box" in their playroom, throw your used eclipse glasses in there and let their imagination come up with something.

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Those solar lenses look very interesting and serve a unique purpose — I am sure some creative types in New Jersey could turn them into something useful.

Maybe a special filter for your camera or phone?

Maybe a protective filter to put over sensitive seedlings?

Maybe an art project?

Sew several hundred together and make a solar filter quilt?

Annular Solar Eclipse Passes Over The United States
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Finally, if all else fails, you can try to recycle your eclipse glasses. But that is subject to local rules and regulations. More than likely, the thin plastic film that make up the lenses is not eligible for single-stream recycling. But the cardboard or paper frame likely is. So grab some scissors, and do your duty in keeping at least one of millions of pairs of eclipse glasses out of a landfill this year.

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Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Check out Dan's weather blog or follow him on Facebook for your latest weather forecast updates.

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