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A green Christmas and all year long

Posted by Allyce Amidon '12, Falcon Heights, Center for Small Towns on Wednesday, Mar. 9, 2011

For the past two years ,the University of Minnesota, Morris based GreenCorps has been working to make Christmases a little bit “greener” by setting up recycling opportunities for Christmas lights. GreenCorps recycling member, Sonya Kopet ’12, Starbuck, worked in conjunction with Recycle Across America (RAM) to collect used holiday lights, saving them from landfills. The project is a statewide effort that GreenCorps members participated in last year as well and that Kopet hopes will be a growing tradition.

Kopet set up boxes for the lights at Willies, Thrifty White, and The Salvation Army. She contacted the Morris Chamber of Commerce, and the information was sent out in the community’s Friday Facts. She also contacted RAM and was added to the statewide map of participating communities. In December, 190 pounds of lights were collected, and 117 pounds in January. Kopet also plans to pick up the Morris Chamber of Commerce’s lights when they take them down in March or April. She says that parts of the lights can be recycled, and “we just don’t need to throw it all away we can reuse it.”

Now, as winter comes to a close, Kopet's project is looking at the differences between on and off campus recycling and trying to inform the campus community about these differences. She says that “helping people become more informed about recycling options is the most important part of the position.”

Upcoming events for Kopet and the GreenCorps include Prairie Pioneer Days, Horticulture Night, and hopefully other events during the summer at which she hopes to both promote and help with the event’s recycling.

The Minnesota GreenCorps is an environmentally focused AmeriCorps program administered by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). This program is funded through a grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service with additional support from ServeMinnesota. Partnering in this program is University of Minnesota, Morris Center for Small Towns.