Holiday Lights Gone Out? There’s a Recycling Program for That

Green up your holiday season by recycling old lights instead of trashing them.

When the glow goes from your holiday lights, don’t chuck them in the trash can; look for a program that recycles them — or better yet, a program that pays you to recycle them. Then, you can use your cash to buy new LED holiday lights, which can use 90% less energy than incandescent holiday lights.

Here a few of the light-recycling programs we found:

  • Minnesota’s Recycle Your Holidays program takes old holiday lights at 400 sites (and it’s happy to help you set up a collection point in your neighborhood). Vocational center workers with developmental disabilities disassemble the lights and the parts get recycled.
  • When you recycle a string of old holiday lights at one of Crown-ACE Hardware’s 17 stores in California, you get a $5 gift certificate redeemable toward a minimum $20 purchase of new holiday lights.
  • wants to collect 50,000 pounds of holiday lights to recycle and plans to donate a portion of the proceeds to Operation Food Search to feed the hungry. Drop off at Wal-Marts in St. Louis and Illinois.
  • Elgin Recycling partners with over three dozen Illinois cities including Wheaton, Evanston, and Lombard to collect holiday lights and extension cords. Elgin strips the materials and recycles the copper and plastic parts.
  • Lowe’s home stores offer a convenient receptacle to drop off your old holiday lights for recycling, though it’s not offering any rebates or coupons.
  • If you don’t have a local holiday light recycling program, you can ship your lights to, which will send you a coupon good for a 25% discount on the LED holiday light sets it sells.

What other programs are you aware of? Please share! How likely are you to recycle your holiday lights?