Sunday, December 28, 2008

After Christmas Shopping

While you are out grabbing all the great after Christmas deals, please consider purchasing some new holiday lights to use next year. Even if your current lights are still in good working condition, switching to LED is the best way to go for many reasons.

LED lights use 90% less energy and most light sets last 50,000 hours. They are also safer because they are cooler to the touch, UL approved, and Energy Star approved. This is another win-win for everyone. Less energy used means less natural resources used means less money out of your pocket. Whew! I feel like I should run out and buy some right now.

Mom saw some light sets at 75% off which is great, but of course she didn't buy them. There were lots of sets at the store and she thinks that if she waits a little while longer that she can get them at 90% off. Good luck with that I told her. With her luck, she will wait too long and they will all be gone. This will be another case of "I told you so". She does not listen to me but hopefully you will.

But what will you do with your perfectly good non-LED light sets? Don't throw them away - recycle them! Post them on craigslist or freecycle so that someone who cannot afford lights can have them.

If you have lights that don't work, please recycle them. They don't have to end up in a landfill somewhere thanks to the following two options. Please check each website for specific shipping instructions.

1. You can ship them to, Attention: Recycling Program, 120 W. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1403, Jackson MI 49201. The company will even send you a coupon for 15% off its LED lights. The lights are then processed and any material that cannot be recycled (i.e. loose bulbs) are discarded. Once they collect a substantial number of sets, they take them to a 3rd party recycling facility located in Jackson, MI. The recycling company puts the lights through a commercial shredder, which chops the lights up into little pieces. The pieces are then further processed and sorted into the various components that make up the lights (pvc, glass, copper.) The materials are separated and transported to a region center for further processing. In some cases, the pvc cannot be recycled.

2. You can ship them to Christmas Light Source Recycling Program,1923 6th Avenue Fort Worth, TX 76110. This company will give you a coupon for 10% off its lights. They take the lights to a local recycling company that pays a small amount per pound of lights - similar to what you would get for recycling aluminum cans. The money they receive from the recycler is used to purchase Usborne books that get donated to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. Usborne offers a 50% match on donations, so for every $100 in proceeds from Christmas lights recycling, $150 in books can be purchased and then donated.

Now for some facts. If everyone used LED Christmas lights, we'd save $160 million in energy costs according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Ten strands of LED lights produce 30 pounds of carbon dioxide versus 300 pounds for regular lights.

So what are you waiting for? Don't be like Mom and wait too long. Go out and get some LED lights today or better yet, order them online. Happy shopping!

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