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Recycle those holiday memories

Don't forget your old lights and trees, too


It’s the same old thing every year. You take your holiday lights out of a box, the same box you put them in 12 months ago after they served you well the entire season, and they don’t work. How is it possible that perfectly good lights go bad just sitting in storage?

No one knows. It’s like the missing socks from the laundry and the teaspoons that run away while all the forks and knives stay home.

But don’t despair. You don’t have to fill the landfill with all those misbehaving not-so twinkling lights.

Recycle them.

According to journalist Adam Minter, author of a book called “Junkyard Planet” much of the world’s old Christmas lights end up in Shijao, China – some 20 million pounds a year on average.

There, the lights are “unmade,” shredding the plastic to get to the brass and copper inside.

There are a few options available to you if you can’t stand the toss defunct lights into the trash. You can ship the old lights to a company that sells LED holiday lights and receive a coupon for 15 percent off new lights (holidayleds.com ).

Or drop them off at Republic Services in Wilsonville, 10295 S.W. Ridder Road. They will accept old lights Monday-Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Now what to do with that once-glorious, now tired and dried up Christmas tree?

They can be recycled as well.

In West Linn and unincorporated Clackamas County, Christmas trees can be included as yard debris but it must fit inside the bin with the lid closed so you’ll probably need to cut it up. If you put a tree outside the can you may incur an extra charge. Flocked trees are accepted.

Even less painful is letting someone else do the work.

West Linn Boy Scout Troop 396 will be recycling Christmas trees again this year, with curbside pickup anywhere in the 97068 zip code. Pick up dates are Jan. 2-3. Suggested donation is $8 per tree; all contributions are tax deductible. Those wishing to schedule a pickup should email trees@troop396.us or leave a message at 503-660-8396.

Trees should be curbside by 9 a.m. on the pickup day with your donation attached to the tree in a plastic bag. Checks should be payable to Boy Scout Troop 396. Trees will be taken to S&H Logging in West Linn for composting. For more information, visit troop396.us.

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