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What to do with your old, broken Christmas lights

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KEWANEE, Illinois-- Unwanted Christmas lights are finding a new home, and it's not the garbage.

Lauren Shaner brought in three stuffed bins of broken and extra Christmas lights to OSF Healthcare Saint Luke Medical Center in Kewanee to be recycled.

“Can you imagine what I was going to do with all of these? I just looked at it and was like, 'uh’,” said Shaner.

The lights sat in bins at her in-laws, unwanted and taking up space.

“My in-laws were about to throw them in the dumpster, and I thought wait a minute, there is a program at work where I can take them,” said Shaner.

“This is a safer way than putting them in the landfill, which is where they would have ended up,” said Shaner.

The hospital teamed up with Eagle Enterprises in Galva, where every string of Christmas lights will be separated and reused.

“They'll be using the recycled material from the copper, the plastic, the glass, and they'll be able to recycle and sell to various community distributors for re-purposing,” said Carrie Boelens.

Boelens says the collection is also a competition between other OSF locations in Illinois. This friendly challenge is all about cleaning up space and keeping unnecessary waste out of the landfill.

“This can help a lot of people in our community solve a problem, and that's simply what do I do with these lights. They don't work, so I just keep hanging on to them,” said Boelens.

Last year 223 pounds of lights were collected. The goal this year is to collect over 500 pounds.

Collection boxes can be found in the lobby at Saint Luke in Kewanee, Saint Mary's in Galesburg and Holy Family in Monmouth. Lights can be dropped off now until January 11.

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