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Recycle Indiana

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Holiday Recycling Tips

It’s that merry time of year again! The Indiana Department of Environmental Management is offering tips for a “greener” holiday season.

Reuse that old string of holiday lights!

Is there a new type of holiday light out there that you’re just dying to buy, but you’re conflicted because you still have perfectly good old lights? There are ways to give a second life to older lights in good working condition. Keep these tips in mind as you decorate for the holidays.

  • Donate them! Check with your local organizations that will help redistribute them to the community.
  • Sell them online.
  • Reuse them to decorate a patio or room.
  • Reuse them for festivities throughout the year.
  • Take them camping.

Recycle old lights and electronics!

Are your old lights broken, or maybe just shot from time and usage? Do you plan on replacing a computer, cell phone or television? Rather than throwing away broken and unwanted lights and electronics, here are some resources that can help you recycle them.

  • Solid Waste Management Districts (SWMDs):
    • SWMDs can provide a great deal of useful information about recycling, yard waste, and household hazardous waste (HHW) services in your local community.
  • Indianapolis / Marion County Services:
  • Christmas Lights Recycling:
    • The Christmas Light Source light recycling program is active all year. All proceeds from the program are used to purchase educational books and toys that are donated to Toys for Tots in early December. If you include your name and email address with your lights, they will email you a code that will be good for 10% off a single order of Christmas lights.
    • The Holiday LEDs light recycling program is open year round. If you send them your old Christmas lights for recycling, they will email you a coupon good for 15% off their LED Christmas lights. Be sure to complete the Christmas light recycling form on the website.
    • Home Depot is holding its 2014 Christmas Light Trade-In Event November 6, 2014, through November 16, 2014. For each string of incandescent Christmas light strings you turn it (limit five per customer), you will receive a $3, $4 or $5 discount toward the purchase of Energy Star qualified LED Christmas lights.
  • Electronics Recycling and Donation:
    • IDEM maintains information on how to donate and recycle electronic waste on the Recycle Indiana website.

"Tree-cycle" your holiday tree!

When it’s time to take down the holiday decorations, remember cut trees can be turned into material for chippings/mulch, erosion protection, or shoreline stabilization. Many Indiana communities provide tree recycling services for residents. Earth911 provides information to help you find you a tree recycler near you.

Learn about the Life of a Christmas Tree

Every year, Indiana Christmas tree growers harvest over 500,000 trees. Christmas tree farms are an efficient, environmentally friendly way to grow trees and to provide families with healthy, well-shaped Christmas trees without damaging Indiana forests. Learn how farms prepare Christmas trees for your home by watching IDEM’s Life of a Christmas Tree video.

For people who are debating whether to purchase a cut tree, a living tree, or an artificial tree for the holidays, Earth911 explores the pros and cons of each option.

Make the holidays more environmentally friendly

  • Make decorating environmentally friendly.
    • Purchase energy efficient lights when it’s time to replace old strings of incandescent lights. Energy Star LEDs are efficient, durable and easy to maintain. Many have convenient features, such as dimmers and automatic shut-offs. The Energy Star label assures you have a quality product. CFLs are also an energy efficient option at a slightly lower cost.
  • Make gift giving more environmentally friendly.
    • Take along reusable bags when you go shopping for gifts.
    • Use recycled paper to wrap gifts or get creative with newspaper or the colorful pages from a magazine.
    • Reuse bows and wrapping paper you’ve saved from previous years; save this year’s bows and trimmings for reuse next year.
    • When selecting gifts for others, choose durable, quality items that will last.
    • Check the label and buy recycled.
    • Purchase and use rechargeable batteries for electronics. Consider giving a battery charger and rechargeable batteries as a gift.
  • Make holiday gatherings more environmentally friendly.
    • Provide containers for your guests to recycle aluminum, glass and plastic beverage containers.
    • Avoid using disposable dishes and utensils to reduce excess waste.
    • Run only full loads of dishes to conserve water and electricity.
    • Buy locally to create that fabulous meal. Check for a winter farmers' market near you.
  • Save the environment and save money by conserving electricity.
    • Turn holiday lights off when you’re not home.
    • Turn your thermostat down and consider using a programmable thermostat.
    • Purchase foam gasketsfor electrical outlets and light switches from the hardware store to help seal your home.
    • Unplug appliances and gadgets when not in use.