New Hanover County is offering residents the opportunity to recycle their holiday lights for free this year.
NEW HANOVER COUNTY — With no need to trim the tree with strings of lights, New Hanover County is offering a place for residents to dispose of the colorful holiday decorations. Meanwhile, other programs offer Christmas tree recycling. Here is a rundown.
1. Lights: For the first time, New Hanover County is partnering with its county libraries and Keep New Hanover Beautiful to offer multiple locations where people can drop off their holiday lights to be recycled for free.
Joe Suleyman, director of environmental management, said the idea was born out of a conversation with the local beautification group about ways to build on smaller, more manageable programs like the current battery recycling program.
The county’s recycling center traditionally has a container specifically for Christmas lights, where they are known by staff as tanglers, Suleyman said.
“It gets tangled around all the moving equipment parts,” he said. “We thought if we are going to go cut them out, let’s capture some of the revenue from them.”
Through Jan. 5, the program lets residents drop off lights at all county library locations, the county’s households hazardous waste facility at 3002 U.S. 421 N. or the Wrightsville Beach recycling center at 321 Causeway Drive, Wrightsville Beach.
Just days before Christmas, the program’s container was about a quarter of the way full, Suleyman said. He estimated that was 400-500 pounds of lights.
The lights will be taken to an area metal recycler to be stripped of the copper wiring. The proceeds reaped from the haul will be donated to Keep New Hanover Beautiful.
2. Trees: New Hanover County allows residents to recycle Christmas trees in the days after the holiday.
Through Jan. 15, trees can be dropped off at designated locations in Ogden Park, the Home Depot in Monkey Junction, the Home Depot on Eastwood Road and the county landfill. No artificial trees are accepted, and lights and ornaments must be removed.
City of Wilmington trash customers can recycle Christmas trees by removing decorations and lights and placing trees on the curb with other vegetative debris on their normal service day.
In Carolina Beach, a separate town collection program will pick up trees placed on the curb Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays through Jan. 31. The trees will be again be turned into mulch and used to help rebuild dunes along the beach through a partnership with Cape Fear Surfrider Foundation.
The Brunswick County Landfill is accepting live trees through Jan. 31 at no cost. The county’s convenience centers will accept trees for $5 a tree.
Pender County is accepting trees at its Hampstead and Rocky Point convenience sites.
3. Decorations: No recycling program locally accepts trees with the ornaments or decorations attached.
Officials advise residents to donate unwanted, still working decorations and ornaments to thrift stores or dispose of them in regular waste services.