Thursday, December 13, 2012

Hazardous Holiday Lights

As the holidays approach, many of us are pulling out last year’s lights to decorate.  Each year you find a few more lights on the strand that don’t work; eventually, the whole string of lights is out.  These little lights can cause you more harm than just the frustration you feel while trying to get them to work.  The Ecology Center, a non-profit organization based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, found that 79% of lights tested contained lead (, 2010).  While your main concern about lead in holiday lights is probably your family’s health, please also consider the environment.  When bulbs break or the strand mysteriously stops working  and the lights are discarded in the trash, they end up in a landfill.  Lead can leach out of landfills and into our water.  Animals that rummage through landfills can also be harmed by ingesting or becoming entangled in the lights.
Please consider the environment by recycling holiday lights rather than discarding them in the trash.  Recyclers chop the lights into pieces and sort by material.  Each material component is then separately recycled. 

Local holiday light recycler:

WLSSD Materials Recovery Center
4587 Ridgeview Road
Duluth, MN 55803

Mail-in holiday light recyclers:

Environmental LED
The LED Warehouse
Attn: Christmas Light Recycling
109 E. Prairie Street
Vicksburg, MI 49097
Attn: Recycling Program
3849 Guest Road
Jackson, MI 49203

Useful Links:

HealthyStuff.Org Report

-Written by Jillian Schubert Edwards

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