NBC26 Cares: Christmas Lights Recycling


Video by nbc26.com

NBC26 Cares: Christmas Lights Recycling

By Deandra Corinthios. CREATED Jan 1, 2014

GREEN BAY, WI --With the holidays coming to a close, a lot of us will be taking down our decorations. You may find a strand or two of lights that don't work anymore. Instead of throwing them in the garbage, a local organization hopes you'll recycle them.

Janice Barkby's trash is a welcome treasure at Habitat for Humanity's ReStore in Green Bay.

"Usually if I'm starting to put them up, there's always some that are burned out, and I know that the ReStore offers free recycling and it's for a great cause," said Barkby.

Barkby also volunteers at the ReStore and has dropped off five strands of broken holiday lights so far this year.

"I'm big on recycling to begin with, so I think we end up in our own household having more recycling than we do garbage just because I know where it ends up, and I don't want it to be like that in the future for my kids or grand kids," she said.

"Holiday lights that are thrown into our landfills pose a threat to our wildlife. Animals can choke on the strands of lights or get tangled by them, and then it also takes about 100 to 1,000 years for these lights to decompose," said volunteer and resource coordinator for Habitat for Humanity, Chiara Boss.

So far, Habitat for Humanity has collected more then 3,000 pounds of old holiday lights.

 "We make about 35 cents a pound off the extracted copper from the holiday lights," said Boss.

Habitat for Humanity uses the profits to help build new homes for low income families living in sub-standard housing.

 "It's very heartwarming and every family that I've worked with, I mean they're so gracious and so loving and so kind and so deserving," said Barkby.

The ReStore also takes in donations of new and used building materials and home improvement items, then sells them to the public at a low cost. In 2013, Habitat for Humanity constructed eight homes. By donating to the Holiday Lights Recycling Program, you can help impact more families in the new year.

"Thank you and keep doing it, because we are always going to be building homes in the future. We're always going to have families and partners in need," said Barkby.

The Holiday Lights Recycling Program actually runs year round. The ReStore accepts working lights as well.