Holiday Lights Recycled for a Good Cause

CATEGORY: Starlight

Guests who attended Sister’s Christmas Catechism at Starlight Indoors in December cleaned out their storage closets and helped a good cause by bringing non-working and unused holiday lights to Starlight Theatre to be recycled.

Starlight participated for the first time in a holiday lights recycling program sponsored by Southeast Enterprises, a Kansas City nonprofit sheltered workshop. For the sixth straight year, Southeast Enterprises collected the lights to be sorted, disassembled and recycled by its 160 employees with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

During this year’s campaign, which ran Nov. 13 through Jan. 7, Southeast Enterprises collected 41,561 pounds of lights from 160 Kansas City area locations.

Diverted from local landfills, the strands of lights instead are disassembled by Southeast Enterprises’ employees, who remove the light receptacles from each strand. The strand’s wire, which contains copper, is then sent to City Scrap Metal in Lee’s Summit. Southeast Enterprises receives a rebate on the copper and uses the funds to cover the majority of its employees’ wages. The separated light bulbs are sent to Systech (formerly LaFarge) to be burned for energy recovery.

“All lights collected provide employment opportunities for a team of our workers,” Amanda Moses, business development director at Southeast Enterprises, explained. “Challenging employment opportunities help our workers develop and capitalize on their motivation, confidence and determination. All proceeds are used to pay the team as well as fund future employment opportunities.”

Moses noted that, during the drive, the organization also finds materials other than strands of lights in their collection bins. “We strive to find a suitable way to recycle those items, too,” she said.

Starlight thanks Southeast Enterprises for giving back to the Kansas City community, and we are proud that our patrons and our staff contributed to this worthy charitable effort!