Monday, December 29, 2008

Recycling Christmas Lights

Good Morning. I hope everyone is enjoying the holidays. We've got a few days break until New Year's hits, so I'm back at work. The boys, however, are not back at school. I feel so blessed that I can work from home and accommodate their schedules. I like it when they are off. The morning get ready for school routine is my least favorite thing of any regular day.

If you drove past my house this holiday season, there would have been a lack of cheer going on outside. Our pre-lighted garland that we've had for years bit the dust. My husband and I talked about going out and buying new, but in the end, we decided we'd hold off for this year. We'd wait until the after Christmas sales and then buy some LED lights. We still had a wreath on the door and candles in the windows, and you could see the lighted tree through the windows so we didn't look like complete humbugs.

The biggest problem was the disposal of the old stuff. That was solved  when I found a recycling program for strands of incandescent lights on
When we receive your lights for recycling we will remove them from the package and recycle the box. The lights will be processed and any material that cannot be recycled (i.e. loose bulbs)is discarded. Once we have collected a substantial number of sets we take them to a 3rd party recycling facility located in Jackson, MI. The recycling company puts the lights through a commercial shredder, which chops the lights up into little pieces. The pieces are then further processed and sorted into the various components that make up the lights (pvc, glass, copper.) The materials are separated and transported to a region center for further processing. In some cases, the pvc cannot be recycled.
They will also send you a 15% off coupon for the LED lights they sell on their site. I know that this company is making out on this deal. I'm sure they sell the lights that they are sent to the 3rd party recycling plant. And of course, the coupon is to encourage you to buy from them. But I'm okay with that.

I also like that they ask that your lights be sent without any packing materials (the lights are already broken), in a recyclable box, and in the smallest box possible. All of this makes the least environmental impact when shipping the items

If I want to do things like hang holiday lights outside my home, then I need to be responsible with their disposal. I could collect old strings of light myself from others until I had enough to sell for a profit. But I'm not going to do that. will do it so I'm willing to spend a little postage to send the old stuff to them and if they make a few cents on it, so what? Allowing them to make a few cents is much better than throwing them in a landfill.

So, I'll be extricating the old strings of light from the garland and sending it away to be recycled. The garland is still useful, so I'll keep that and put the new LED lights on it next year. 

Yep, it's more work than just tossing the whole thing in the trash and buying new pre-lit garland. Oh well. Sometimes doing the right thing takes a little effort.
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Adam Shake said...

Most excellent find Robin. Good sleuthing on your part. I'm bookmarking the site for future reference.

Got lucky this year with all of the lights working. But I'm sure that next year will be a different story.


Allison said...

Perfect! I am going to keep this in mind.