Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Recycle your holiday lights

From Linden Hills Power & Light:

So you finally untangled that clump of holiday lights, plugged them in and ta-da...nothing!

Don't get mad, get even! Replace those frustrating suckers with nice new, energy-efficient LEDs, and kick the old ones to the curb of 43rd and Upton at Bayers Hardware (Minneapolis), where a nice recycling bin stands ready and waiting for them.

Every part including the glass and copper will be recycled. By one estimate, recycling copper takes about 10 percent of the energy it takes to extract it. It's very energy intensive to create new copper, so this is a big deal. 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 about 960,000 pounds of carbon dioxide. That's assuming 20,000 pounds of lights are replaced by LEDs and that homeowners with lights use them for about six hours a day from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day. Last year Minnesota recycled 100,000 pounds and this year's goal is 200,000 pounds.

For locations all over the state for recycling your lights, click here.


  1. Hi, Nancy-thanks for your info on how to recycle string lights and the discount at Dunn Bro's for bringing in re-usable coffee mugs. I have been searching for info on how to compost paper and carboard items such takee-out coffee cups, cardboard interior packaging, paper bags, etc. I know Seward and Linden Hills will accept compostibles in their curbsie pick-up-but I'm wondering if there is a plan for a city-wide program for collecting compostibles, much like the plastics recycling program located at East-side co-op is for all Mpls. residents?

  2. Hi, A.! I'm really glad you're interested in composting! I wish I had it in my neighborhood, too. There isn't a definitive timeline for citywide composting, but it's definitely on the city's radar. The best person to talk to is Susan Young, director of the Minneapolis Solid Waste and Recycling Division. She's at 612-673-2433 or susan.young@ci.minneapolis.mn.us. Let her know you want curbside composting!