South-West cities accepting holiday light strings to be recycled

submitted photo • Oakdale City Hall is collecting holiday light strings, electrical cords, phone cords and appliance cords to be recycled.

ProAct, a nonprofit serving people with disabilities, is kicking off its holiday lights recycling effort. The program also recycles electrical, phone and appliance cords and offers 29 drop-off locations including several in South-West coverage cities. Locations include:


• ACE Hardware & Paint, 3098 65th Ave. E., Inver Grove Heights

• Inver Grove Heights City Hall, 8150 Barbara Ave.

• Inver Grove Veterans Memorial Community Center 8055 Barbara Ave.

• Mendota Heights City Hall, 1101 Victoria Curve

• South St. Paul City Hall, 125 Third Ave. N.

• West St. Paul City Hall, 1616 Humboldt Ave.

• Dakota County Northern Service Center, 1 Mendota Road W.


“Keep your lights and cords out of the trash and recycle bins, and know that they will be handled properly and that the valuable material will be reclaimed and reused in new products,” said ProAct Production Coordinator Jennifer Cavalier.  The effort also helps to employ dozens of people with disabilities in Dakota County.


People with disabilities process the cords and bulbs at ProAct’s Eagan facility with a few exclusions, Cavalier explained.  Drop-off locations and ProAct cannot accept cord adapters, battery packs, plastic rope lights, CFL lights, light fixtures, trees and garland. Anything that is pre-lit needs to have the light strands removed from the item and the item disposed of separately by the consumer, she said.

Christmas lights and electrical cords cannot be recycled in standard, single-sort recycling bins, and can cause problems in the regular waste stream, but the material is recoverable, said Cavalier.  ProAct has grown the recycling effort each of the last four years.  All the work and income from the processed material will benefit individuals with disabilities in its programs.

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