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Stop Throwing Away Your Old Christmas Lights. Here’s How to Recycle Them Instead.

The Family Handyman 1/5/2023 Madison Zoey Vettorino
Christmas lights. One Broken. © RedBarnStudio/Getty Images Christmas lights. One Broken.

Before you toss out your old holiday lighting that no longer works, wait! We have some great news: There are ways to recycle (and even upcycle, if you're feeling creative) your old Christmas lights. By being resourceful and thoughtful, you can help ensure any reusable parts don't end up in a landfill.

How to Recycle Christmas Lights the Right Way

Here are our top suggestions for things you should do with your old holiday decor if fixing the Christmas lights isn't an option.

Reach out to a local home improvement or hardware store

Hardware stores like Ace Hardware, Home Depot, Lowe's and True Value often accept old Christmas lights for recycling. It's a win-win: You can pick up a new set while you're at the store, and you can rest assured your outdated set is being recycled responsibly. Because not all stores offer Christmas light recycling, be sure to give them a call and confirm the service is available before you head over.

Mail them in for recycling

If a hardware store in your area doesn't offer old Christmas light recycling options, it's time to head to the post office. Instead, you can mail the lights to services, and they'll take care of the rest. Companies with mail-in Christmas light recycling programs include:

  • Christmas Light Source: We're a big fan of Christmas Light Source, which provides 10% off a new order of lights. You get a new set of lights for less, and you can feel great about recycling your old ones.
  • Holiday LEDs: With Holiday LEDs, you can recycle your holiday lights any time of the year. Simply pack, ship and they'll recycle. In turn, you'll receive a 15% off coupon for their lights in the future.

Once your new set arrives, be sure to store the Christmas lights carefully so you can use them for years to come.

Bring them to a waste management facility in the area

Another option that helps guarantee your old Christmas lights are recycled correctly is to bring them to a waste management facility in your local area. Sometimes, after the holiday season is over, cities identify a particular day when people have the opportunity to donate old, non-functional sets of lights, so keep an eye out for that.

Alternatively, you might be asked to drop off the lights at a particular location. Either way, be sure you give your local facility a call before heading over to ensure that they do have a recycling process in place.

Try Upcycling Your Old Christmas Lights

Just because your old Christmas lights aren't functional anymore doesn't mean you can't repurpose them in other innovative ways around your home. For example, if you have a string of bigger cone-shaped bulbs, grab metallic or sparkly spray paint and give them an even, fresh coat. Then, hang them up with the rest of your decor. They won't light up, but they certainly will add some flair to your space.

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