1½ tons of ‘dead’ holiday lights

Almost 100 trees also recycled during effort to save landfill space

COVINGTON, Ky. – Nearly 100 discarded trees and almost 650 pounds of non-working lights from Covington were kept out of landfills this past holiday season – and when you include the “dead” strands of lights collected by the City’s partners across Northern Kentucky, that number expands fivefold.

More than 3,000 lbs. of holiday lights were collected for recycling in Boone, Campbell, and Kenton counties (including Covington), between Dec. 1, 2021, and Feb. 1, 2022, during a holiday light collection and recycling event.

The event came about as a partnership between the City’s Solid Waste & Recycling Division, Cohen Recycling, the non-profit Keep Covington Beautiful, Kenton County Public Works, and Boone and Campbell counties.

“This year, we decided to work together in Northern Kentucky to expand the number of drop-off sites and to advertise the program with a collective voice, and it paid off,” said Stephanie Bacher, Covington Solid Waste & Recycling supervisor. “In lights alone, we diverted some 1½ tons of hazardous material away from our landfills. That copper and aluminum will be reused instead of buried.”

(Also spared was the collective aggravation of dealing with tangled strings of expired holiday lights. Non-working lights were dropped off at designated locations around Covington and the three counties and later collected for recycling.)

The breakdown looks like this:

  • Kenton County: 1,299 lbs.
  • Boone County: 1,189 lbs.
  • Campbell County: 609 lbs.
  • Northern Kentucky total: 3,097 lbs.

The Kenton County total includes 645 lbs. collected in Covington, which is more than the 592 lbs.  collected last year.

Trees to mulch

Meanwhile, the City’s Holiday Tree Recycling Program, in its third year, allowed residents to recycle natural trees and turn them into mulch. Between Jan. 4 and Jan. 18, 95 trees were dropped off at three locations or picked up.

A 2018 American Christmas Tree Association Survey showed that 82 percent of trees displayed were artificial. 

“Considering the number of holiday trees that are artificial these days, collecting any real ones is at least an effort to divert yard waste from the landfill,” Bacher said.

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