Recycling Christmas Lights

Friday’s Student’s Corner reminded us that we can recycle our Christmas trees. If you are local, the City of Rochester offers several drop-off locations where you can bring your tree. The trees are ground into mulch and available for free to the public. Click here for details.

As you continue with your holiday clean-up duties, as well as your mission to make it a green new year, did you know you can also recycle Christmas lights? If you have strands of lights that no longer work, one of the best local options for Monroe County residents is to bring them to EcoPark.

There is also a mail-in recycling program through Holiday LEDS. Send your lights via USPS, FedEx, or UPS Ground to: HOLIDAY LEDS, RECYCLING, 13400 WATERTOWN PLANK RD. SUITE 34, ELM GROVE, WI 53122. The company will send you a 15% off coupon. If you are in the market to replace your lights for next year keep in mind that LED lights use 80 percent less energy than incandescent lights, are safer than in terms of fire prevention since they do not generate as much heat, and will last 10 years or more!

Home Depot  offers a similar trade-in program where you can drop off old, used, or broken incandescent lights and receive a discount for new LED lights. It might be something to keep in mind for next season since this program is typically offered in November.

If you like the mail-in option or happen to live in the Atlanta area, here’s a fun one that will also support a good cause. The Furkids Thrift Store is recycling all unwanted lights and using the profits to help the Humane Society. If you’re an animal lover, check around for other similar programs that may be closer to you.

[Here’s another tip for Rochester area animal lovers; you can donate old blankets or towels to be used as animal bedding at Lollypop Farms.]

As you’re weighing out your best recycling option, keep in mind the environmental cost of shipping and transporting these items. Depending on your situation and where you are located, a mail-in program may or may not be “worth it” compared to personally dropping your lights off at a local place, like EcoPark. Then again, many cars on the road making various drop-off’s also has an environmental cost, so consider teaming up with others or starting your own collection in your neighborhood or workplace to drop off materials in one trip. You could be a real eco superstar this year!!

Whatever you decide to do, thank you for recycling!

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