Omaha scouts urge community to donate holiday lights at their recycling drive

Two Boy Scouts troops are collecting lights to keep them out of local landfills.
Area Boy Scouts are recycling Christmas lights and decor to keep them out of our landfills.
Published: Dec. 20, 2022 at 4:47 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - During the holiday season, our holiday lights break and burn out. We tend to throw them away, but we don’t realize the significant harm it does.

Scouts BSA Troop 231 B & G started their Christmas lights drive two years ago. Gary Bittner is the scoutmaster and said this year they’ve been collecting lights since the start of November.

“Part of this is educating the community, as well as saying hey you don’t have to throw those Christmas lights in the garage bin,” Bittner said. “You can come recycle them and keep them out of the landfill.”

“My nephew, their elementary school in Lincoln had a holiday light drive,” Bittner said. “Part of this idea got expanded with our troops.”

Bittner said they want to prevent holiday lights from decomposing in landfills. Holiday lights contain glass and metals like copper that can sink into the earth and be harmful to the environment.

“Our partner in this is Scrap Central in Omaha they take the lights they grind them up and take the copper and get recycled, then the glass gets recycled.”

The scout group has already collected 2,162 pounds of lights and they expect to collect more with their upcoming drive on Jan. 7, 2023.

“We have lots of locations around Bellevue, Papillon, La Vista, and Plattsmouth.”

Barb Bittner is a committee member of the scout’s group.

Those old Christmas lights you have lying around can be recycled -- and a Boy Scout troop is taking care of it.

She said if you aren’t able to make it to the drive you can donate your Christmas lights at your own convenience at one of their 12 drop-off bins from Nov. 1, 2022, to Jan. 15, 2023: Bellevue Public Library, LaVista Public Library, Sump Memorial Library, Plattsmouth Public Library, St. James United Methodist Church East and West in Bellevue, St. Matthew’s Catholic Church in Bellevue, Bellevue District 3 Fire Station, Papillion Landing, and Papillion City Hall.

Bittner also said they’ve partnered with Texas Roadhouse, which will provide free coupons to those who attend the drive.