Christmas lights tangled in trash, public help recycle 2 and a half tons

Published: Feb. 11, 2022 at 5:56 PM MST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Although Christmas is nearly two months behind us, the holiday offered a final gift to the Rapid City Solid Waste team.

The public helped the team recycle strings from non-working Christmas lights in a record breaking fashion.

Solid Waste crews call the broken lights tanglers, as they get tossed in bins and get tangled up with all kinds trash. Making it difficult for the landfill to separate and sort into piles, which can cause delays and harm equipment.

The public used bins that were placed around the city during Thanksgiving week, and collectively recycled about two and a half tons of lights, up until the bins were removed at the end of January.

The amount collected, Ria Harper, Solid Waste’s Education and Outreach Coordinator, says is nearly a ton more than last year’s effort.

”When Christmas lights get thrown into the curbside bin, they go through this belt and these augers. They’ll get wrapped around and catch other things,” Harper explains, “so that more things get caught. It ends up being a huge blockage.”

A blockage Harper says can take several hours to clean up at the end of the day.

The light collection has been going on for several years, and Harper expects the annual effort to continue as it grows more successful each year, which helps eliminate problems the tanglers cause for Solid Waste Crews when disposed of improperly.

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