TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The holidays have come and gone, and that means it’s time to clean up all the mess left behind. But the city of Troy has created a recycling program with a local boy scout troop to get rid of all your old holiday lights while still doing some good for the community.
“It began when my dad and I were going through our holiday lights to decorate,” says Tyler Michaels. “I have kept boxes of broken lights throughout the year.”
Though Tyler said he didn’t know what to do with them, his dad stepped forward to say, “There’s gotta be answer to that.”
From there, Tyler and his dad partnered up with a local recycling company to do something good with all those broken lights, starting at first with collecting at Averill Park High School. “And I got about two truck loads of lights,” he says.
But then, the city of Troy took notice, and recruited them to do the same for the whole city. Tyler and his dad have been dropping off decorated bins around Troy with the help of their Boy Scout Troop, 2526.
“I’ve enjoyed it a lot,” Tyler says. “This has been my COVID blessing.”
According Troy’s Recycling Coordinator, Renee Panetta, keeping string lights out of the trash makes a big difference. “Those are the things that are also called ‘tanglers.’ They get stuck in the machines if they do go to any sort of a plant.”
Instead, Tyler’s lights go to a recycling facility that separates each component before recycling. “It’s very important,” Tyler says, “because we’ve seen the effect of climate change already.”
Tyler says that “It’s an unusual thing that something that costs so little to produce can have such a big impact.” And the impact goes even further. “The best of this, is they will actually give us money for the proceeds,” he says. “We will give that, we’re donating it to Toys for Tots.”
All of this started from one box and a single idea from a 16-year-old. “The fact that is a young teenage guy, really to me highlights the fact that there is promise for tomorrow.”
To participate and donate your own broken or unused lights, go to one of the seven drop-off locations in Troy until January 15.