If your Christmas lights are burned out this year, they can still light up a dog’s day.
This December, Raven Recycling is matching recycling fees when people drop off their old lights, and donating the proceeds to the Humane Society Yukon.
Ira Webb, project coordinator at Raven, said that in 2017, Raven donated about $400 to the Outreach Van. This year, the company settled on the humane society as a donation recipient.
“We kind of just came up with it as a way to do something nice around the holidays while also raising awareness about items that people might not know can be recycled,” he said.
“The (humane society) came up last year as well and we wanted to do a different one than last year and we’d heard they were kind of in need. I guess they always are, so we picked them.”
The initiative brings awareness to the humane society, but also to the issue of what can and cannot be recycled. A lot of people don’t think about lights, said Webb.
“A lot of the time we don’t really think about the value in a product like that,” he said. “Plastic and the copper is all valuable stuff, so it’s just a way of raising awareness about the obscure items.”
Other obscure items include any cable or wire, extension cords, AV cables and any wiring with copper in it.
He said lights net about five cents a pound, which isn’t a ton, but when people are bringing in strings on top of strings, it adds up.
Dan Moore, executive director of Humane Society Yukon, said help from Raven is always appreciated. He said that, year-round, the recycling depot has an area where people can choose to donate proceeds from cans or bottles to the society. Every month the shelter gets a cheque, which can be for as much as a few hundred dollars.
That helps cover the cost of vet bills as well as day-to-day care for the animals.
Right now, Moore said the shelter is housing about seven dogs and 12 cats (those numbers climb in the summer and fall). He said the shelter shuts down adoptions over the holidays, to avoid people giving pets as last-minute gifts without thinking through the commitment, but that foster volunteers with time off usually step up to take an animal in for a week or two.
Not only does this get them out of the shelter for a while, it has the added benefit of giving the shelter more information about the pets, in terms of how they act in a home. This can be helpful, said Moore, when adopting animals out to people who have questions about the animal’s behaviour.
Webb said residents can drop off lights from Monday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. He said Raven will continue collecting bulbs through January to give people a chance to bring them once the holidays have ended.
There’s a big bin onsite to collect the lights. Webb said any lights that are inside inflatables can be donated as long as they’re separated from any fabric components. He said those can be recycled in Raven’s textiles area.
“Though we always encourage people to just not buy those in the first place,” he said.
If you don’t have any lights to donate, Moore said the shelter can always use donations of blankets and towels, which they go through a lot of.
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