Don’t Toss Old Holiday Lights, Recycle Them with the Glen Ellyn Park District

Posted on: November 26, 2018

As you’re going through your holiday lights this year, deciding which are still usable and which need to be replaced, don’t toss your broken or unwanted lights into the trash can. The Glen Ellyn Park District has an easy and environmentally friendly solution for disposing of holiday lights that are taking up space in your garage or attic: recycle them!

In a joint effort with Elgin Recycling, the Park District is one organization out of many villages, park districts, libraries, churches, and businesses that are offering donation sites for unwanted or non-working holiday lights that would otherwise end up in a landfill. Drop off is free! Last year, 98,056 lbs. of holiday lights were recycled; the goal for 2018-2019 is to recycle over 110,000 lbs. of lights.

This year’s recycling effort runs until February 1, 2019. “We’ve offered this service for six years,” said Renae Frigo, Naturalist with the Glen Ellyn Park District. “We set up bins at our collection sites and dump them into a collection container when they’re full. Elgin Recycling picks up the container and takes the lights away to be recycled.” The collection sites that are maintained by the Glen Ellyn Park District include the Spring Avenue Recreation Center (185 Spring Avenue), the Main Street Recreation Center (501 Hill Avenue), and Ackerman Sports & Fitness Center (800 St. Charles Rd.).

Last winter, the Park District collected over 1,000 pounds of holiday lights, which were made up of Halloween, Easter, Christmas, and Hanukkah decorations, and from lights used to light porches, decks, and patios year-round.

Only specific types of lights are acceptable for the recycling program. “Elgin Recycling takes mini-lights, C7 lights, C9 lights, rope lights, LED lights, and extension cords,” added Frigo. “All colors and lengths of light strings are recyclable, but garlands, wreaths, live greens, and other non-recyclables can’t be accepted.”

At Elgin Recycling, light strands are fed into a shredder that sorts the various parts into different categories, including glass, copper, and plastic. Recycled copper takes 90% less energy to produce, since it’s already been refined. The brass prongs from the plugs are stripped out and reused in other products.

The Glen Ellyn Park District is proud to participate in this annual eco-friendly effort to recycle holiday light materials, helping to keep hundreds of thousands of pounds of lights out of landfills each year. For more information, please contact Renae Frigo at (630) 858-6037, ext. 6006.