Holiday lights to be collected, recycled in Plumsted through Jan. 9

Staff Writer

PLUMSTED – A display of holiday cheer and environmental awareness will return to downtown New Egypt for a third straight year as members of a nonprofit organization showcase the merits of reusing and recycling unwanted items.

From now through Jan. 9, Nurture Environmental Stewardship Today (NEST) will be collecting unwanted holiday lights at its third annual “Rockefeller-esque” winter upcycle display.

NEST is a nonprofit organization which seeks to raise awareness of New Jersey’s environmental diversity and to help people lower their carbon footprint.

According to NEST President William Lewis, a 6-foottall

Frosty the Snowman collection bin made of 50-gallon plastic drums will once again stand between the New Egypt Marketplace and the Subway sandwich shop.

Lewis said this year’s display will also feature a 7-foottall arch made up of milk jugs that have been painted to look like penguins, soda bottle snowflakes and “snow blankets” made out of old volleyball nets.

“Our upcycling display makes people look, stop and think about how to recycle household goods,” Lewis said. “To reuse and repurpose, not to throw away.”

Lewis said NEST is hoping to collect unwanted Christmas lights which primarily consist of copper wire and plastic. The lights will be brought to a scrap yard and turned in. Last year NEST collected 201 pounds of holiday lights and raised about $100.

Although the amount of money raised may seem small, Lewis said it was the benefit to the environment that ended up making the collection worthwhile.

“We kept more than 200 pounds of waste that is not very biodegradable out of a landfill,” he said.

According to Lewis, any funds raised by the sale of materials that have been collected will go back to the Plumsted Business and Merchants Association to help pay for the organization’s annual holiday lights display in downtown New Egypt.

Ensuring that the holiday lights display continues is important to the local economy, Lewis said, adding that “this event on Main Street not only beautifies the streetscape, it also attracts residents to the downtown area and hopefully stimulates sales at local businesses.”