At the end of 2018, Great Parks of Hamilton County put out the same plea it had made for the past four years: Drop off your broken or unwanted holiday lights at collection points located in six of its parks, and Cohen Recycling will pick them up for recycling and match the donation value of the lights back to Great Parks, up to $2,000.
As it turns out, last year was a particularly bright spot for the annual program.
Residents donated 11,081 pounds of lights, over seven times the total of 2017's drive. The value was $1,625; Cohen Recycling matched that for a total of $3,250 donated.
We asked, and boy, did you deliver! With your help, we collected 11 THOUSAND pounds of holiday lights to recycle - keeping them away from landfills. THANK YOU to everyone who donated & to Cohen Recycling for partnering with us & for their generous donation to Great Parks Forever! pic.twitter.com/pKMcoc2gkF
— Great Parks of HC (@greatparks) March 14, 2019
"THANK YOU for giving us all the lights so we could keep them away from landfills... AND make a little cash in the process!" the organization subtitled a video that shows bags piled high next to collection cans overflowing with strands of lights.
What made 2018 a more stellar year than the rest? In addition to extending the program by a month, displaying more signage, and amping up social media around the event, "I think the public is becoming more and more aware that it's always good to recycle as opposed to sending it to a landfill," Great Parks CEO Jack Sutton tells WVXU.
As for how the funds will be used, Sutton says it will go toward reforestation, invasive species control and enhancing green space.