Grinch-like holiday lights, cords and more can be recycled

Have the holiday lights lost their twinkle? Is there a drawer full of stray cords gathering dust? Don’t put them […]

Have the holiday lights lost their twinkle? Is there a drawer full of stray cords gathering dust? Don’t put them in the trash. ProAct, a nonprofit that serves people with disabilities, offers 32 seasonal drop-off spots for those unwanted light strings, electrical, appliance and phone cords. Help the environment while providing work for people with disabilities.

This year the program has expanded beyond the Dakota County and Red Wing areas to serve the Shakopee and Hudson, WI areas. The items collected will be disassembled and sorted by people with disabilities.

Now in its fifth season, the holiday lights recycling effort is held in conjunction with several cities in a wide metro area. “Keep your lights and cords out of the trash and recycle bins. Let us handle them properly to reclaim the valuable material for reuse in new products,” said ProAct Work and Recycling Manager Jennifer Cavalier. The effort also helps to employ dozens of people with disabilities.

The program is now underway and will continue until the first week of February 2019. People with disabilities process the cords and bulbs at ProAct’s Eagan facility. ProAct has additional operations in Red Wing, Shakopee, Zumbrota and in Hudson, WI.

Some items cannot be recycled through the ProAct program, said Cavalier. Don’t leave cord adapters, battery packs, plastic rope lights, CFL lights, light fixtures, trees and garland in the recycling containers. County solid waste departments can provide information as to how to recycle those items.

Anything that is pre-lit needs the light strands removed from the item and the item disposed of separately by the consumer before being recycled through ProAct.

Christmas lights and electrical cords cannot be recycled in standard, single-sort recycling bins or in residential curbside recycling programs. The items can cause problems in the regular waste stream. But the material is recoverable, said Cavalier.

ProAct has expanded its holiday recycling effort each of the last five years. More than seven tons of material were collected last season. All the work and income from the processed material will benefit individuals with disabilities in its programs.


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