How To Recycle Christmas Lights?

Whether you’re cleaning out your basement, or you figured out last Christmas that a set of those twinkling Christmas lights was no longer working, the last thing you want to do is dump them in your regular household trash.

Let me show you why this is important and how you can best deal with old Christmas lights.


Why Should You Recycle Christmas Lights?

There are two important reasons why you should recycle old Christmas lights.

First of all, you don’t want these lights to end up at a landfill site. While they might not contain toxic materials, they do contain certain types of plastic and metals that are very easy to recycle these days.

The positive effect of doing this also has to do with reducing the need for natural resources like fossil fuels and copper. As a result, there’s a further environmental benefit by lowering the need for mining operations.

But there is also a financial incentive for you. By replacing old Christmas lights with the newest type of LED lights, you’ll save a lot of money on energy costs. And if you’ve ever put up those modern LED ones, you’ll know that they are a lot easier to handle.

Gone are the days when one loose or faulty bulb would make the whole light string unusable.

These are the benefits of doing the right thing:

Leaf Check mark

Reduce Unnecessary Waste - Landfills are full of things that could be recycled in order to provide a wide range of raw materials.

Leaf Check mark

Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions - E-waste often ends up in incinerators or is exported to developing countries where they go through open-air burning.

Leaf Check mark

Increase Supply Of Raw Materials - Everything from copper to plastic in Christmas lights can be used in the production of new electronics.

Leaf Check mark

Lower The Need For Mining - Copper and other metals found in Christmas lights have to be mined, and reusing these materials lowers the demand for polluting mine operations.

What Materials Can You Retrieve From Christmas Lights?

There are three common types of materials that make up Christmas lights, and in most cases, they are fully recyclable.

First of all, the electrical wiring between each of the bulbs or LEDs is made of copper. And copper can be easily melted down to then be used as raw material for cables, wires, and pipes.

You’ll also find that these lights contain a lot of plastic, and in a lot of cases, this plastic is fully recyclable to make a wide range of components for consumer goods.

And finally, in some of the older Christmas string lights, you’ll find that the bulbs also contain glass. And this can be broken up and recycled with other clear or colored glass.

How to Recycle Christmas Lights?


E-Waste Recyclers

Bringing old Christmas lights to a certified recycling company is probably the best option. These companies have the tools to separate all the raw materials in a safe and effective way. And they will ensure that all of these materials enter the cycle economy in an efficient way.

Municipal Office

Municipal Waste Management

If you search for “recycling Christmas lights near me,” you'll find that there are municipal waste companies that deal with electronic recycling as well. They either handle and process them directly or partner with other larger recycling facilities to properly deal with them.


Retailers And Hardware Stores

Another option you have is to check with local electronic and hardware stores if they have a bring-back service. In many cases, these drop-off points are free of charge, or they might take in your old lights if you buy a new set while you are there.



And finally, if the lights are still working, then consider checking with a local charity store if they would be something they’d accept. Charities often rely on donations like this to generate revenue for the services they offer.

Where to Recycle Christmas Lights?

Drop-off Recycling (For Individuals in the San Francisco Bay Area) 

If you live in the San Francisco bay Area, then the easiest option for you is to fill out the Green Citizen drop-off form with the details.
Ideally, look for some other electronic devices that you no longer use and handle them in the same process. 

Then bring your old lights and other devices to the Burlingame location and pay a small fee for the recycling process.

Mail-in Recycling (US-Wide Service)

If you don’t live in the Bay Area, then Green Citizen also offers a convenient mail-in service. You pre-fill an online form with all the details and thenweigh the items you will send in. There’s a small fee calculated per pound, and you simply pay this conveniently online. 

You can then use your favored mail or delivery service to ship the items to Green Citizen. It really couldn’t be any easier.

Green Directory (US-Wide Service)

Rather than rely on searching for “Christmas light recycling near me” in Google, you have a much easier solution with Green Citizen’s Green Directory. Simply add the type of device you want to recycle and add your zip code, and you’ll find the closest companies to choose from.

DISCLOSURE *: GreenCitizen is passionate about making every day Earth Day for the people and businesses we serve. We introduce only those green products and services that we believe can help our customers reduce waste and environmental damage.
 We participate in Amazon Associates and other affiliate programs that earn us fees when site visitors follow certain links. We’re committed to using all such revenues to increase our efforts toward making every day Earth Day.