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Burlington County encourages residents to recycle holiday lights

Decorations can be discarded at the county’s resource recovery complex

It’s that wonderful time of the year when Burlington County homes and shops, trees and other landscapes are aglow with holiday lights and adornments.

While decorating for the holidays is a tradition many of us enjoy, too often the strings of burnt out or damaged holiday lights end up being tossed out with household garbage – or worse – discarded in recycling cans.

Strands of lights must be kept out of the curbside recycling stream because they damage the mechanical equipment used in the county’s recycling process.

There is a greener way to properly dispose of these decorations. Instead of discarding non-working lights in the trash, the Burlington County commissioners are encouraging 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 Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

The resource recovery complex is located at 22000 Burlington-Columbus Road in Florence. Residents bringing lights or other electronics should enter the complex and follow signs to the scalehouse, where you will be directed to the e-recycling area.

“As Burlington County residents unbox their holiday decorations, we’re asking them not to add more waste to landfills or risk damages to our recycling equipment,” said Burlington County Commissioner Deputy Director Tom Pullion, the liaison to the Department of Solid Waste and Recycling. “Bringing spent or unworking lights to the resource recovery complex gives 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 mercury, so tossing them in the garbage or curbside recycling can be hazardous.

“We’re encouraging everyone to go green while decorating,” said Pullion. “There are plenty of ways for the materials in 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.”

Residents are asked to place light strands in either clear bags or cardboard boxes when delivering them to the recovery complex.

Burlington County is a state leader in recycling and one of the only New Jersey counties to collect recycling from all its municipalities at no charge to either towns or residents.

Last year, close to 44,000 tons of recyclables were collected from Burlington County residents, saving their towns more than $3.8 million in landfill tipping fees.

More information about recycling is available on the county’s free Recycle Coach app. The app can be downloaded from iTunes or the GooglePlay app store and has information about what materials are accepted and updates and alerts about collection schedules for each town, plus advice and tips for recycling right.

For more information about proper disposal of electronics or other materials, call (609) 499-1001 or email recycle@co.burlington.nj.us.

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