Bring holiday lights to Resource Recovery Center for safe recycling

Eric Sucar
Members of the Girl Scouts of Holmdel admire the lights on the tree during the annual Christmas Tree and Menorah Lighting held at the Holmdel Town Hall on December 3. The annual event included a performance by the Satz School Band, the holiday lighting, and a visit from Santa Claus.

While decorating for the holidays is a tradition, too often strings of burnt out or damaged holiday lights end up being tossed out with household garbage. This is wasteful and harmful to the environment.

There is a greener way to properly dispose of these decorations. Instead of discarding non-working lights in the trash, the Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders want residents to give them a second life by bringing them to the county’s Resource Recovery Complex, where a permanent electronics disposal center is staffed from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays and from 7-11:30 a.m. Saturdays.

The Resource Recovery Center is located at 22000 Burlington-Columbus Road on the Florence-Mansfield border.

“As Burlington County residents unbox their holiday decorations, we’re asking them to be mindful they don’t needlessly add more waste to landfills,” Burlington County Freeholder Director Felicia Hopson said in a prepared statement. “By recycling spent or unworking lights, residents give the various parts a new useful life. It’s the environmentally friendly way to decorate for the holidays.”

Holiday lights are most often made of plastic, glass and copper and all three materials can be easily recycled. Also, some light strands may contain lead or mercury, so tossing them in the garbage can be hazardous, according to the statement.

“We’re encouraging everyone to go green while decorating,” Deputy Director Tom Pullion, who is the board’s liaison to the Department of Public Works, said in the statement. “There are plenty of ways for the materials of holiday lights to be repurposed, so please take the time to recycle them at our electronics disposal site. It’s a free service for county residents and the right thing to do.”

Unwanted lights should be placed in cardboard boxes or clear bags when delivering them to the Recovery Complex.

Lights should not be discarded in curbside recycling containers.

For more information about proper disposal of electronics, call 609-499-1001 or email [email protected].