Minnesota expands holiday light recycling program

With the holiday season now over, Recycle Your Holidays™, a statewide holiday light recycling program of The Recycling Association of Minnesota (RAM) in partnership with WCCO TV, Xcel Energy, Ace Hardware and CERTS, is in full swing.

This is the first-of-its-kind holiday light recycling program which kicked off on November 15, 2010. To date, there are over 250 collection locations statewide and is well on its way to exceeding the goal of collecting 200,000 pounds of holiday lights. Customers of Randy’s Environmental Services of Delano, Minnesota, can also recycle their holiday lights in their curbside recycling container.

“Recycle Your Holidays recycles every part of the light strings. Even the little lights are recycled by another project partner Green Lights Recycling,” stated Ellen Telander, executive director of RAM. “Our goal last year was to recycle 50,000 pounds of lights, which we more than doubled. We also encourage Minnesotans to make the switch to LED light strands, which will save a lot of energy.”

Recycle Your Holidays is a unique grass-roots program of RAM, which employs adults with disabilities from local vocational centers throughout the state. It is free for businesses or organizations to participate and it offers free collection of holiday lights, free collection bins and signs. It’s a win-win for businesses and organizations who want to provide a unique way to go green.

According to estimates by the Clean Energy Resource Teams, recycling 50,000 pounds of lights in Minnesota would save about 530,000 kilowatt hours, or approximately 960,000 pounds of carbon dioxide – that’s the same as powering 55 Minnesota homes for a year, or taking 75 average-sized cars off the road. This is assuming 20,000 pounds of lights are replaced with LEDs by homeowners with lights used for about 6 hours per day from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day.