Recycle that tangled mess of holiday lights

Drop-off locations added for non-working strands

COVINGTON, Ky. – Among the many things that bring us together during the holidays is the collective aggravation of plugging in the just-purchased holiday lights that worked fine last year and finding not a single bulb aglow.

(Or worse still, half of the lights work, which baits us into believing we can fix the whole string with a replacement bulb. But that’s a whole new level of frustration.)

Rather than get aggravated and throw those one-(holiday)-and-done lights in the trash to clog up a landfill, you can recycle them.

Thanks to a partnership among the City of Covington, Cohen Recycling, the non-profit Keep Covington Beautiful, and now Kenton County Public Works, drop-off recycling locations will again make it easy to get rid of those non-working holiday lights, protect the environment, and save landfill space (and our sanity), all at the same time.

“Last year’s holiday lights collection event was so successful – with nearly 600 pounds of lights diverted from the landfill – that we’ve expanded collection points to three in Covington and partnered with Kenton County Public Works for a total of six drop-off locations,” said Stephanie Bacher, Covington’s Solid Waste & Recycling supervisor.

And that’s not all. This year, Covington extended an invitation to Kenton, Boone, and Campbell counties for a friendly competition that will serve the greater good, as in, “Let’s see who can recycle the most holiday lights.”

The response was, “We’re in!”

“It’s official, we shall compete to divert!” Bacher said.

Melissa Grandstaff, with Kenton County Public Works/Solid Waste and Recycling Management, is up for the challenge.

“If we must be in competition with each other, then let it be a competition for a better environment!” she said.

Beginning Wednesday, Dec. 1, and lasting until Feb. 1, 2022, you can drop off non-working holiday lights (loose, i.e. not bagged) at these locations:

In Covington and Kenton County:

  • The lobby at City Hall, 20 West Pike St. (Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.).
  • Covington Fire Department Station 5, at 1255 Hands Pike (barrel located outside, hours 24/7).
  • The lobby at The Center for Great Neighborhoods, 321 M.L. King Jr. Bvld./W. 12th St. (Monday – Thursday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.).
  • The lobby at the Kenton County Administration Building, 1840 Simon Kenton Way, Covington (Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.).
  • The lobby at the Independence Courthouse, 5272 Madison Pike, Independence (Monday – Friday, 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.).
  • The lobby at Kenton County Public Works, 420 Independence Station Road, Independence (Monday – Friday, 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.).

In Boone County:

  • Boone County Public Works, 5645 Idlewild Rd., Burlington (located outside, hours 24/7).
  • Boone County Conservation District, 6028 Camp Ernst Road, Burlington (located outside, hours 24/7).
  • Boone County Public Library’s Main Library, 1786 Burlington Pike, Burlington (Monday – Thursday, 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.).

In Campbell County:

  • Campbell County Administration Building, 1098 Monmouth St., Newport (Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.).
  • Campbell County Clerk’s Office, 8330 W. Main St., Alexandria (Monday – Friday, 8:30 – a.m. – 4 p.m.; 1st & 2nd Saturday of the month, 9 a.m. – noon; 1st & last Thursday of the month, 8:30 p.m. – 6 p.m.).

You can also visit to find other recycling locations.

All kinds of string lights are accepted during this event (even those strands of pink flamingos), including traditional and LED-style bulbs. Other electric holiday yard decorations, such as a projector or the motor on an inflatable character, may be recycled at a Cohen Recycling Center. See the page linked for a location and call ahead for more information on recycling these items.

“It’s important to divert items like holiday lights from the landfill because of the limited landfill space,” Bacher said. “This goes for any non-holiday item such as aluminum cans, glass bottles, and cardboard as well as food waste and yard waste.”

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