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East Lansing collecting broken/unwanted holiday lights to recycle

Published: Dec. 3, 2021 at 1:22 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - While you deck the halls...you may come across a broken bulb that can ruin a whole string of lights.

“They realize they aren’t working anymore or they’re not ones they want,” said David Smith with the MSU Surplus Store and Recycling Center.

Before you throw your old lights in the trash- you can actually recycle them.

“We really encourage people to recycle them, it’s sort of a unique thing.”

You can’t put Christmas lights in your recycling bin for curbside pick up- but there are drop off locations at the East Lansing Public Works Department and at the MSU Recycling Center.

After the holiday light collection, the broken and unwanted strands of lights will go to scrap metal dealer.

“They’re what’s called flaked so they’re cut up into little pieces and then it’s separated by the plastic the glass and the metal particularly the copper that’s in there. And those materials are then reused.”

David says the simple light recycling can have a big impact.

“It saves on cutting down trees, saves landfill space, but what a lot of people don’t realize is the economic impact recycling has here in the state of Michigan. So for example, for every one job that’s created by sending material to a landfill you can create nine jobs by either the reusing or recycling that material.”

As we get closer to the holidays, there’s another list that you should check twice- what common holiday items you can and can’t recycle.

“We generate a lot more waste during the holidays from the period of Thanksgiving through New Year’s. We generate 25% more waste than any other time of the year.”

Cardboard and gift boxes can be reused or recycled- along with greeting cards as long as there is no glitter or metal on them.

“Whether that’s wrapping paper or gift boxes, most of those things can get recycled. I really encourage people to check with their local recycling because things are different in every community on what they accept and what they don’t but please make sure that you’re recycling this material.”

East Lansing is collecting holiday lights until December 10th.

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