Holiday lights

Instead of throwing away nonfunctional holiday light strings, test and fix your bulbs using a free tool available at valley locations.

Teton Valley Community Recycling has once again joined forces with Creative Energies Solar to offer the community free use of a cool tool to easily fix your non-functional holiday light strings. There are four public locations you can bring your lights to including the Geo Center (at our Recycling Education Center), the Valley of the Tetons Library (both in Victor and at the Driggs Makerspace), and the Alta Library– and if you can’t fix them, we will happily recycle them for you! Just put them in the bin at any of the listed locations or drop off at our partner stores, Ace Hardware or MD Nursery.

Creative Energies has donated five Light Keeper Pro string light tester devices to our local communities. These will be available for you to use at the library circulation desks or entry area and at the Geo Center recycling corner for the months of November, December, and January.

Simply bring in your non-functioning light strands, plug them in, take out a bulb, insert the device, and squeeze the trigger a few times. The device will either restore the circuit or identify faulty bulbs. If you find a dead bulb, feel free to pilfer bulbs from the broken holiday lights recycling bin. If a fuse is blown, you can simply replace it at the hardware store. And if the light strand really has finished its useful lifespan, the copper wire and other valuable materials can be extracted at a recycling facility, so Please Don’t Toss!! (Note: Most of these devices only work on standard incandescent miniature light strings, but the Makerspace will have access to both an LED Light Keeper and a standard Light Keeper.)

When purchasing light strings, we encourage you to choose the energy efficient LED strands which, while a bit more expensive, offer considerable savings on your electric bill as they use up to 80% less energy, and typically have a much longer lifespan. Here are some energy calculations for the same light display for one winter (from LED Christmas Lights (237 watts) = $9.00 per season versus Incandescent Christmas Lights (2,800 watts) = $105.75 per season.

If your holiday light string is truly beyond repair due to corrosion, cut wires, or other problems, Teton Valley Community Recycling has furnished convenient collection bins at the libraries as well as the GeoTourism Center, Ace Hardware, and MD Nursery to leave your light strings for recycling. TVCR will collect and bring these lights to the Teton County Transfer Station to be recycled with other electronic. Please don’t ever throw these valuable materials in the trash!

Creative Energies, our local solar energy experts, have generously funded the entire program for both Teton County, Idaho and Teton County, Wyoming. These devices will re-emerge every winter holiday season, and be available year-round at the Victor Tool Library (part of the Valley of the Tetons Library on Main Street in Victor) along with a wide variety of other tools and kits.

TVCR is fortunate to have partners who support waste reduction and sustainable practices in our community. Starting this week, you’ll find the Light Keeper Pro device and simple laminated instructions at the above listed locations.