Thursday, December 30, 2010

Turning Christmas Lights Into Cash

The News Tribune in Tacoma, WA, reports that two years ago, Cadette Girl Scout Jessica Lam wrote to the organizers of Zoolights, the annual holiday light display at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, suggesting they get involved in recycling strands of used and unwanted holiday lights - an idea she learned about from her grandfather. The project would keep materials out of landfills and find new uses for the copper and plastic contained in the strings of lights. Also, with the value of copper soaring on world markets, it could generate revenue for the zoo.

In 2009, the zoo gained a partner in the project - Girl Scouts of Western Washington. On Tuesday, Girl Scouts were back at the zoo to kick off this year’s drive, which continues through January 15. Brownie, Junior and Cadette scouts joined Americorps volunteers and zoo staff members to unload, sort and package light strands for recycling. The Scouts have also given a boost to the project by asking troop members and others in their communities to gather lights for recycling.

Last season, the zoo collected 5,277 pounds of light strands and earned $4,975. Pretty impressive!