Holidays create piles of additional waste. In fact, it’s estimated household waste increases by 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, adding an extra six tons of trash to landfills.
OSF HealthCare is hoping to divert at least some of contributing waste by helping residents in some communities recycle unwanted Christmas lights. Steve Looney, director of facility planning and operations for OSF Saint Luke Medical Center says OSF HealthCare tries to be a good steward of the land and resources so there is a significant effort to recycle which keeps items out of the landfill and ultimately saves money because he says it costs less to recycle.
In the first year of the campaign, OSF Saint Luke prevented 98 pounds from being sent to the landfill. With those kind of results it was easy to get other OSF HealthCare hospitals on board. There is a friendly wager between the three Western Illinois OSF HealthCare hospitals, plus OSF Saint Paul’s Medical Center in Mendota has asked to be part of the challenge.
“We’ve kind of created a competition this year so we’ll see who wins. I think we’ll be amazed at this year’s results. In fact, Looney predicted the Christmas light recycling effort among the four hospitals will result in keeping 500 pounds of the no-longer-working wire and bulbs out of local landfills. Recycling companies such as Eagle Recycling in Galva, which has partnered to accept the lights, will separate the strings into raw materials including plastic, glass and copper which can be reused to make new products like slipper soles.
The drop-off box is located in the main lobby at OSF Saint Paul Medical Center. The unwanted lights can be dropped off through January 11.