If you're taking down your holiday decorations, there's an environmentally friendly way to get rid of holiday lights that have broken or frayed strands.
Rather than throwing them out, take your old lights and extension cords to a nearby recycling location in Glenview or Park Ridge, which will accept them for free, courtesy of the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County.
As for Christmas trees, the Niles Public Works Department instructs residents to put them out with the regular garbage, said Kimberly Trausch, assistant village clerk, adding the village does not recycle them.
The National Fire Protection Agency and Underwriters Laboratories offer some tips for storing holiday lights safely:
1. Never pull the cord to unplug a device from an outlet, since it can damage the cord and even lead to eletrical shock.
2. Inspect each string of lights as you put them away. Throw out strands with loose connections, cracked sockets or frayed wires.
3. Consider buying a holiday light storage reel to keep lights from tangling in storage. You can also make your own using a wrapping paper tube or a piece of cardboard with a hole cut in the middle.
4. Keep lights in a dry place, such as a suitcase, to protect from water damage. Store away from kids and pets as well.
Pam DeFiglio contributed to this report.