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Recycle your holiday lights

The holidays are upon us, and most of us are in full swing decking the halls. So you get out all of your holiday decorations and start plugging light strings in one by one only to find that half no longer work. Sound familiar? So what do you do with all those dead strings of lights? If you’re like the average American you throw them in the garbage. Or, you may ask, “Are Christmas lights recyclable?” Before you opt for the landfill, there are recycling options available.


HolidayLEDs.com provides holiday light recycling and will give you a coupon good for 25% off  energy efficient LED lights from their web site. You do have to pay your own shipping, but you know your lights will be recycled, and you recoup some of that shipping cost if you use the coupon. Click here for details.

EnvironmentalLED.com has a similar program. Their offer is slightly lower at 10% discount off lights from their web site. Click here for details.

If you live in Minnesota you can participate in the Recycling Association of Minnesota’s Recycle Your Holidays  program. Residents can drop-off their unwanted light strands at over 400 participating locations during the holiday season, which starts November 15 and runs through the end of January each year. Businesses may become sponsor locations and RAM will promote their participation for free. Companies like Xcel Energy and Ace Hardware are annual participants.

Crown Ace Hardware stores in California will recycle your lights and give you a $5 gift certificate to use on the purchase of new ones.  Click here for details.

Elgin Recycling is partnering with over three dozen Illinois cities to collect old holiday lights and extension cords. Last year Elgin recycled 51,960 pounds of lights! Their goal for this, their third annual collection, is to reach 100,000 pounds. Click here for more information on the Holiday Lights Recycling Program or to see if you live near a participating city.

Lowe’s is also collecting holiday lights for recycling. They do not offer a rebate or coupon, but they are still offering a free alternative to putting you lights in the landfill.

The Christmas Light Source  will not only give you a 10% discount in their online store when you recycle your lights with them, they also donate all proceeds to Toys for Tots. Click here to learn how they recycle the components of the light strands, sell those components, and then use the proceeds to buy books which are donated to Toys for Tots.

Other retailers like Sears and Home Depot also run holiday light recycling programs, but for limited times around the holidays. Check your local retailer to see if and when they have a program.

Your local utility may have a holiday light recycling program as well. For instance, if you live in the greater Lansing area in Michigan, you can recycle your holiday lights with the Lansing Board of Water and Light.  BWL customers are eligible to exchange up to two strands of old working incandescent lights for a new set of LED lights. Click here for details on the BWL program, or check your local electric utility to see if they have recycling options available.

Worried that the lights you turn in for recycling are hitting the landfill anyway? All the options listed here are disassembling the individual light strings, stripping the copper, metals and plastic and recycling those components.

Recycle your working holiday lights too.

Why? If you are still using incandescent light strings you are using alot of electricity to power them. LEDs are up to 85% more efficient than incandescent bulbs, which means that by using LEDs you are not only reducing your carbon footprint, you’re reducing your electric bill as well.  LEDs also last longer than their incandescent counterparts, which means you’ll replace them less often.

Creative ideas

Maybe you’re the crafty type and you’d like to find a way to repurpose those lights at home. 10 Ways to Recycle Christmas Lights on the Greenopolis blog has some creative ways to reuse those lights. From jewelry to home decor check out these cool ideas.

This entry was posted in Home Recycling Tips & Tricks and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  1. Posted December 19, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    I am just going to have to go along with you this time!

  2. Posted December 14, 2011 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    Hello Guru, what entice you to post an article. This article was extremely interesting, especially since I was searching for thoughts on this subject last Thursday. 672469

2 Trackbacks

  1. […] Holiday lights can be recycled at a variety of retailers and recycling facilities. See our post on holiday light recycling. […]

  2. By URL on December 14, 2011 at 4:12 am

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