A bright idea for Southeast Enterprises

The MARC Solid Waste Management District administers an annual grant program that awards funds to local communities and organizations for waste reduction and recycling-related projects. From time to time, we publish updates about recent grant recipients.


Old strands of holiday lights may not work, but they’re far from worthless. For the second year, Southeast Enterprises will collect unusable or unwanted holiday lights for recycling. Last year, they exceeded their goal of recycling 24,000 pounds of holiday lights. This year’s goal is to exceed 34,000 pounds.

So, what happens to all of those lights? Once collected, Southeast’s employees prepare the lights for recycling by clipping and sorting each component of the light strands: wires, plugs, light receptacles and bulbs. The components are then sent to other organizations for recycling or energy recovery. Every part of the light string is recycled.

snowman trashcanThe program does more than help the environment — it provides jobs, too. To disassemble the lights Southeast Enterprises employs more than 160 Jackson County residents who are intellectually and developmentally disabled.

Collection containers will be placed at more than 165 participating schools, businesses, recycling centers and community organizations. View the map of drop-off locations to find one near you.  They will collect lights until Jan. 26, 2014.

The district is pleased to be part of this effort by providing grant support to Southeast’s 2012-13 and 2013-14 collection programs.

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