String-lights recycling drive to benefit zoo

Non-working string lights will be collected through Jan. 31, at the four Heights Libraries branches. [photo Kim Sergio Inglis]

The success of the Cleveland Heights Green Team's (CHGT) post-election yard-sign collection prompted the group to plan a post-Christmas Heights Holiday String Lights Collection Drive.

From Dec. 26 through Jan. 31, Heights residents can drop off broken, non-working, or used strings of lights and extension cords at any of the four Heights Libraries branches in Cleveland Heights and University Heights.

“Broken string lights and damaged extension cords cannot be recycled through the curbside recycling program," explained Nikki Newman, a member of CHGT. "They should not be mixed in a blue bag or recycling bin. We know our residents want to do the right thing by trying to recycle them, but they will end up in the landfill if not recycled correctly."

“Collection boxes will be clearly marked and conveniently placed within the grounds of the libraries to make it easier for our community to participate," said Alex Sitarik, co-founder of CHGT.

"What makes this collection even more special," noted Sitarik, "is that it will benefit the Cleveland Zoo's Lights for Lions conservation initiative. This is the perfect ending for the season of giving."

Last year, the zoo's Lights for Lions effort collected nearly two tons of holiday lights. “If our community rallies around this effort, we can make a big positive impact in this year’s numbers,” said Newman. “Heights residents are good at coming together for a good cause, and protecting endangered species is a really good cause.”

From Nov. 3 to Nov. 14, Cleveland Heights residents were able to recycle yard signs by dropping them off at one of five collection points in the city. "The response was beyond anything we expected. The community really embraced the effort," said Sitarik.

“We collected approximately 1,500 yard signs, from which about 1,200 were taken to the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District for recycling,” said Sitarik. The balance was returned to four candidates who asked for them back. “These are 1,500 signs that did not end up in the landfill," she added.

CHGT organized that recycling drive in partnership with Heights Libraries, Dave’s, Zagara's Marketplace, and Save-A-Lot.

To learn more about the holiday string-light collection drive and the Lights for Lions program, visit the Cleveland Heights Green Team's website, at

Catalina Wagers

Catalina Wagers is a resident of the Fairfax neighborhood. She is involved with several local organizations, supporting causes and programs focused on the advacement of NEO through better access to education, policy advocacy, and environmental protection. She is co-founder of the Cleveland Heights Green Team.

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Volume 15, Issue 1, Posted 10:06 AM, 12.21.2021