Merry, Bright, and Eco-Friendly: How to Recycle Christmas Lights
At the end of the season, when your halls are no longer decked, consider your impact on the environment before tossing your old Christmas lights in the garbage. If you look at the packages for Christmas lights, you’ll see that it clearly discourages throwing lights away because several key materials, like copper and plastic, are recyclable and can be used for more than taking up space in a landfill. Like all large-scale electronics, disposing of them when you’ve had enough can be tricky. Programs that recycle Christmas lights exist for those wanting to responsibly get rid of old strands to usher in the new.
Holidayleds.com is a retailer of Christmas lights but also has a recycling program. They send all donated strands to a recycling facility that shreds and separates the materials. All components that can be made into new lights (PVC, copper, and glass) are sent off to be repurposed. All you have to do is mail them your old lights and they will even give you a 25% off coupon to purchase new ones through their store.
www.christmas-light-source.com is another retailer that accepts donated lights all year round. Christmas Light Source has a partnership with a local recycling company that pays them for the copper, glass, and plastic that they get from the lights, which Christmas Light Source then donates (in full) to Toys for Tots. After sending in your lights, CLS will send you a 10% off coupon.
Home Depot and Lowes both have CFL (fluorescent lights) recycling programs in their stores. You won’t be able to recycle the whole strand, but if you have old or broken bulbs, this is a solid choice.
Your friendly neighborhood IKEA has receptacles to recycle Christmas lights; both regular light bulbs and LED bulbs. They don’t accept wires and you’d have to unscrew all bulbs from their strands, but if you really don’t want to mail anything, this is an option.
Every state and city has their own local options for recycling and there is no way that we could list them all here, but earth911.com is a great resource for figuring out what your options are on a local level.