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  • Writer's pictureTara M Stewart

Three Ways to Recycle Your Christmas Lights

Discover some amazing ways you can easily recycle Christmas lights year-round! Plus learn some creative ways to donate lights that still work.

Box of Christmas lights

Unfortunately Christmas lights are non-biodegradable, that means they will remain in landfills indefinitely. This poses a threat of toxic chemicals seeping into the surrounding soil and water, as well as a potential harm to animals. Unfortunately, many people are unable to recycle these Christmas lights due to the lack of accessibility to recycling centers that have the ability to process lights.

Even if your city has a recycling program, very few have the capabilities of recycling the glass, copper and plastic from Christmas light sets. Whether your Christmas lights are broken or you are simply downsizing your holiday decor it's important to know how to dispose of them safely. Below I’ve provided various options for not only recycling them but, also some creative ways to donate lights that are still in good working condition.

Recycle with a Christmas Light Company

While HolidayLEDs accepts Christmas lights, but please note that they do not accept rope lights or loose/broken bulbs. That being said, they will offer you a coupon towards the purchase of new lights after you ship your old lights to them.

Get started here on recycling with HolidayLEDs. For more details and to confirm the address head to their website.

  1. Box up your Christmas lights and send them via USPS, FedEx, or UPS Ground to: Holiday LEDs Recycling, W227N6225 Sussex Road, Door #12 Sussex, WI 53089

  2. Fill out the Christmas Light Recycling form. This form will require your shipment date and confirmation number.

  3. After that they will email your 10% off coupon.

Recycle with your Local City Government

Give it a Google search to find out if your city has a designated electronics recycling center, or a drop-off spot during the holidays to collect lights. See below for an example.

Christmas lights and other electronics can be taken directly to the Electronics Recycling Center, located at 1306 Versailles Road. This facility operates six-days a week and will take lights year-round. View their website for hours.

local Christmas light recycling program

During the holiday season, Lexington's Department of Environmental Quality and Public Works partners with local businesses to host a holiday lights collection drive. From mid-November to mid-January, you can drop off unwanted or broken holiday lights, including string lights, rope lights, and electric candles at various collection sites throughout the city.

Here are the business drop-off locations that participating in the 2023 holiday season.

Insider Scoop: At the holiday collection drop sites they will also accept extension cords, timers, light sensors, power strips, and other small electronics!

Check out Live Green Lex in Lexington, Kentucky, and learn how they can help keep household items out of landfills.

Recycle with a Large Hardware Store

During the holiday seasons most larger box stores such as The Home Depot, Lowes and Ace Hardware will accept Christmas lights in any condition.

While some stores accept a variety of lights year around others only have seasonal drop offs. Be sure to check your favorite hardware store for more details.

Donate Lights that Still Work

If your lights do still work and you are just downsizing the amount of holiday decor you own considering:

  • Taking them to Goodwill or Salvation Army

  • Doing a FREE curbside alert on Facebook Marketplace

  • List them on the Next Door app

  • Give to a local artist or DIYer who uses lights for artwork

  • Repurpose them in your own home or to decorate your backyard


Holiday lights CAN NOT go in your household recycling bin. The equipment used for typically reclycling can not handle the glass and metal on a light string. Not only that the wire can get tangled in the equipment causing a lot of damage.

If at all possible please do not discard your old Christmas lights, or for that matter, any light bulbs in the trash. Please take the time to use one of the resources above.

Check with your specific city to see what exactly is allowed in your recycling bin. Rumpke, one of the nation’s largest privately owned residential and commercial waste and recycling firms, has created a nice and naughty list for what can and can NOT go in their personal recycling bins. I would bet most items on the naughty list are also on the naughty list in your city.

By taking the time to properly dispose of Christmas lights, you can limit their environmental impact.



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