Can You Recycle Christmas Lights?

Christmas is a time we all look forward to. If not for the festivities, for the beautifying lighting that comes with it. In fact, it is not Christmas if you cannot see those beautiful lights all around homes in the city.

However, like most things, Christmas does not last forever. In the long run, after entering into the new year, we will need to bring those lights down. After this, we will need to do something about the light.

Should we keep it for the next year? Should we just discard it? More recently, and thanks to increasing attention to environmental protection, should we recycle it? Well, all these are valid questions. However, when it comes to recycling, there is some confusion about whether you can recycle those Christmas lights.

Well, that is why we are here – to clear that up. As such, in this article, we will tell you all you need to know about whether it is possible to recycle your Christmas lights. Dive in!

Are Christmas Lights Recyclable?   

It is okay to decide to use your Christmas light from last year this year. However, you will have to do something about them, in the long run, to make way for newer designs.  It is at this point that you start wondering whether or not recycling is an option.

Well, we have got just everything you need to know about recycling your Christmas light below.

The good news, you can recycle your Christmas light. This is because it contains various materials that you can recycle in itself. For instance, it contains items like glass, metal, and plastic. They also comprise of polyvinyl coating that covers the copper wiring in the Christmas light. In most cases, these lights also comprise LED bulbs that you can recycle.

So, yes, you do not need to worry about whether or not you can recycle your Christmas light. You can very well recycle it. However, what you need to be careful of is how you get this done.

Generally, recycling Christmas lights is not the same as recycling a can of drink. Like we already stated, your Christmas light contains a wide range of materials. In turn, there is a need for these materials to be separated before they are then recycled individually.

For instance, if you were to drop your Christmas light just anywhere for recycling, you can have a situation where the cords in the lights get tangled in your rotating machine. After this happens, what you might get is a damaged machine rather than a recycled material. Even worse, it can endanger the lives of people working in the recycling center.

As such, you want to take extra care when you consider recycling your Christmas light. But, unfortunately, you cannot afford just to drop it anywhere. Instead, you need to contact your recycling center and request instruction on how to deposit your Christmas lights with them.

Usually, these recycling centers have certain locations where you can drop off these lights without any hassle. From this location, the recycling center will then shred the lights into pieces. These pieces are then sorted and separated by the center. Afterward, it then gets recycled.

Are Christmas Lights E-Waste?

Another common question is whether your Christmas lights constitute e-waste. This is a valid question following the popular attraction that the term has attracted in recent times. This is thanks to the toxic chemicals that studies have shown to be part of these electronics. Well, we will clarify all that here.

However, to achieve this, it is necessary to understand what e-waste stands for. Here is what you need to know.

When we talk about e-waste, we are talking about electronic products close to the end of their useful life. Usually, these electronics are either damaged or unwanted by the owners. Popular things that you know that can constitute e-waste include computers, stereos, copiers, television, fax machines, and VCRs.

Now, back to the major question—are Christmas lights e-waste? Well, the answer is yes. Your Christmas light is a piece of electronic equipment in its own right. As such, when it gets damaged and becomes unwanted, you can categorize it as e-waste.

As such, you need to ensure you are intentional with how you dispose of it. Then, as we have explained, you can recycle it. We have also explained what you need to take note of when trying to recycle. So, ensure you keep it in mind.

Alternatively, there are other ways to dispose of your old Christmas lights. We bet you are interested in your options. Keep reading as we will get to them later on.

Are Christmas Lights Bad for the Environment?

Considering how common Christmas lights are during the holidays, it is normal that you are considering their effect on the environment. So, are Christmas lights bad news for the environment.

While this might be disappointing looking at how we love Christmas lights, the reality is that they are. Yes, those displays that stun you during the holidays come at a cost to our environment. For instance, one of the most significant impacts it has on our environment is light pollution.

We bet you are wondering what this is all about. It is just like every case of pollution; only that light is the pollutant in this case. In case you did not know, this form of pollution has a significant effect on our environment. For instance, it wastes energy and washes stars that exist in our sky. As if that is not enough, it also disrupts the ecosystem of nocturnal life.

Even worse, humans, an integral part of the world, are not excluded. These excessive lights can affect the production of melatonin in the body, increase anxiety, cause headaches, and make sleeping difficult. We bet you would agree that this is not the best bet for the environment.

Obviously, there have been attempts to minimize the impact of this situation on the environment. For instance, as regards energy consumption, the use of LED lights is a great option. It reduces energy consumption by as much as 75% while being less hot. In turn, this makes it safer for your use in trees as there is a lesser probability of a fire outbreak.

Regardless, overall, these lights do some damage to our environment in the long run.

Can You Throw Christmas Lights in the Recycling Bin?

Even if you do not see any reason to change your Christmas light, the reality is that technological device is not always timeless. Usually, your Christmas light will not last forever. Even more, innovations continue to emerge yearly. There is no end from energy-efficient lights to new shapes, new colors, LED lights, and icicle lights.

As such, you will eventually need to do away with your old Christmas light in the long run. Now, once you are ready to do this, you will need to consider whether or not you can recycle it. We have already told you that you can recycle your Christmas lights.

As such, you are also wondering if you can just dump it in your recycling bin when that time comes. While we have seemingly clarified that, we will tell you what you need below.

If you cast your mind back to our explanation on Christmas lights recycling, we told you that they comprise different materials. Usually, these materials include glass, plastic, and copper. In case you did not know, these materials have different recycling processes. So, you cannot recycle them together with other materials in your home.

I guess it is getting clearer now. However, just to avoid any confusion, we do not advise you to throw your Christmas light in the recycle bin. You will do damage to the recycling center in the long run.

You need to contact your recycling center for the best way to get your Christmas light to them. For instance, some of these centers offer mail-in-recycling programs. In some other cases, they provide special recycle bins where you can deposit these Christmas lights.

Ways to Dispose of Old Christmas Lights

Recycling is always a great idea as it allows you to protect your environment. However, if you are looking to dispose of your old Christmas light, that is not the only option that you have. You can also maximize other cool options that will get things done and also protect the environment.

We believe you are looking to jump in on this. Well, here you go.

1. Donate Them to Charity

One thing that you can do is to donate those Christmas lights to charity. There are various charities across the country that accepts Christmas light. For instance, there is the popular Christmas Light Recycling Program. All you need to do is contact them.

Once you do, they will put these lights to good use. It does not matter if the light is in the best condition as they even accept broken Christmas lights. They recycle these lights then apply the funds received to purchase toys and books for less advantaged people. These toys and books are then donated to those that need them.

2. Donate Them to Your Friends

While donating your old Christmas light to the charity might seem like a hell of work, you can do something easier. You can donate them to your friends. Believe me; they would love it. All you need to do is ensure that they are well packed.

Also, you do not want to donate damaged Christmas lights to them. Instead, ensure that the lights you donate are in great working condition. This way, you are truly adding value to your friends.

3. Decorate Your Child’s Room

While Christmas might be over, the fun does not have to stop in your home. Rather than remove those Christmas lights and box them, you can do something better. You can use them to redecorate your children’s room. All you need to do is take those nicely colored lights and place them in the room.

However, as you do this, you want to ensure that you place the lights very high. This will ensure that your children do not run the risk of getting an electric shock. So, preferably, place them some two inches under your ceiling board.


Asking you to do without Christmas light in the coming months would be impossible. Lights represent an important part of our festivities all across the world. However, while we cannot ask you to do without them, what matters is how you handle these Christmas lights when you are done with them.

Do you just throw them away? If you have been doing that, then we advise it is time for a change. One thing that you can do is recycle them. We have discussed all you need to do when it comes to recycling your Christmas light.

So, read up and stay informed.


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About Rinkesh

A true environmentalist by heart ❤️. Founded Conserve Energy Future with the sole motto of providing helpful information related to our rapidly depleting environment. Unless you strongly believe in Elon Musk‘s idea of making Mars as another habitable planet, do remember that there really is no 'Planet B' in this whole universe.