Weather Forecast


Lighting up the holidays: LED lights are in

Tim Prins, operations manager at Schwalbach Ace Hardware in Worthington, holds some of the Christmas tree lights the store is collecting to be recycled. (Brian Korthals/Daily Globe)

WORTHINGTON — Before the last morsel of turkey from Thursday’s feast is fully digested, switches will be turned on for Christmas lighting displays across the region.

0 Talk about it

As people string lights across gutters, porches, trees and shrubs, they are being encouraged to replace their older decorations with more energy-efficient ones.

Recycle Your Holidays is a project of the Recycling Association of Minnesota. According to the Department of Energy, LED holiday lights can save up to 90 percent of the energy used by traditional incandescent holiday lights. So, depending on the extent of the homeowner’s lighting extravanganza, between $10 to $250 can be saved each holiday season by using LED lights.

Not only is there an energy savings, but a local program returns some of the consumer’s initial investment in the lights. Worthington Public Utilities has a rebate program that returns $3.50 per strand, up to six strands, according to Vida Iten, WPU’s customer service supervisor.

“A lot of people don’t realize we have that,” said Iten. “It’s on our website.”

Rebate forms are available at the WPU office, 318 Ninth St., or can be printed off its website,

A copy of the sales receipt is also required for the rebate.

Once a consumer has made the switch to LED lights, what do they do with the old lights?

Recycle them, of course.

Schwalbach Ace Hardware, 1131 Oxford St., serves as a local recycling point for the Recycle Your Holidays program.

“We haven’t gotten too many yet,” said store manager Gaylen Hubbard. “I actually brought a bunch in myself. I got ours up and had all these old strings, so I brought them in.”

People can bring in their old lights and replace them right there, as Ace has a selection of LED holiday décor.

“We’ve been selling a lot of them, and we’ve been telling people about the rebate,” Hubbard said. “We do have the forms available here. I pick them up down at the utility office.”

Eventually the outdated lights are collected by the Recycling Association of Minnesota.

“We take them all to the Windom store,” said Hubbard, “and there’s a truck that comes around from the Minnesota area and they haul them all up to St. Paul to recycle them.”

Other drop-off sites in the region listed on the Recycle Your Holidays site are:

JACKSON: Schwalbach Ace Hardward, 916 N. U.S. 71, phone (507) 847-3070; or AGCO Equipment Co., 202 Industrial Park, phone (507) 847-7111.

LUVERNE: Luverne Ace Hardware, 210 E. Lincoln St.; phone (507) 283-4161.

PIPESTONE: Pipestone County Conservation & Zoning, 119 Second Ave. S.W., Suite 13, phone (507) 825-6765.

WESTBROOK: Westbrook-Walnut Grove High School, 344 Eighth St.

WINDOM: Windom High School, 1400 W. 17th St.; and Schwalbach Hardware, 193 Ninth St., phone (507) 831-2523.

Beth Rickers

Beth Rickers is the veteran in the newspaper staff with 25 years as the Daily Globe's Features Editor. Interests include cooking, traveling and beer tasting and making with her home-brewing husband, Bryan. She writes an Area Voices blog called Lagniappe, which is a Creole term that means "a little something extra." It can be found at  

(507) 376-7327