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Can You Recycle Christmas Lights? Materials, Facts & FAQ

holding christmas lights

Almost every household has a box filled with old Christmas ornaments that must be properly sorted. Whether you intend to reuse them for another year or get rid of them, it is essential to know the proper and correct way to do so. When it comes to old Christmas lights, learning how to dispose of them adequately is important.

If you do not want each broken strand of Christmas lights you use to end up at the landfill, contaminating our soil and water, you can ensure to recycle it as intended. In short, yes, all the materials found in christmas lights can be extracted and repurposed into new products. Read more below to find out more.

divider 4 What Are Christmas Lights Made of?

multi colored christmas lights
Photo Credit By: Matthieu Comoy, Unsplash

Christmas lights are made of plenty of materials that are considered hazardous when disposed of improperly. Christmas lights are usually made from plastic, copper, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and glass. There are many methods of manufacturing Christmas lights, and each model is made with different materials. While the manufacturing methods have improved in the last few years, many models still contain high levels of bromine and lead. Most Christmas lights we use end up at the landfill each year. It is essential not to throw old lights into the trash because when these toxic materials end up at the landfill, they can contaminate the soil and water.

Are Christmas Lights Recyclable?

All the materials found in Christmas lights can be extracted and repurposed into new products. The main component in Christmas lights—copper—is a highly valuable material that most recycling centers will gladly take off your hands. This way, you will avoid letting out toxic materials into nature and give the lights a new purpose. Most recycling centers accept this holiday decor at the end of the season and may even offer recycling programs for collecting holiday items specifically. Some organizations and facilities even offer mail-in recycling of Christmas lights and other collectibles.

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How To Recycle Christmas Lights

There are plenty of ways to recycle Christmas lights conscientiously. While you cannot reuse broken and old lights again, you can repurpose them into new items. Many facilities and stores will take the old Christmas lights off your hands, take them apart, and turn them into new, valuable objects. If you are looking for ways to recycle Christmas lights, read some of the most efficient and quick ways to do so below.

hanged christmas lights
Photo Credit By: Mark Rabe, Unsplash

Recycling Center

The best way to recycle Christmas lights is to take them to recycling centers that are certified to do so. These facilities safely handle waste and are authorized to handle toxic waste. The company you choose for this must accept Christmas lights, and since some may not, it’s best to make sure beforehand.

Hardware Stores

Many hardware stores have a recycling drop box where you can place your old or broken lights. If you are planning on shopping for new Christmas lights, you will save precious time and effort by bringing your old lights to the hardware store.


If none of these methods work for you for some reason, you can always donate Christmas lights to your local thrift store. If your lights are in working order, you can find many stores that will take them off your hands, such as charity stores.

christmas string lights
Image Credit: Dzenina Lukac, Pexels


Just because one or two bulbs on your lights are broken, doesn’t mean you should simply toss them out. There are tons of ways of reusing Christmas lights, from decorating your outdoor patio to using them as nightlights in a child’s room.

divider 4 Final Thoughts

Christmas lights can certainly be recycled and reused. When you become a conscientious member of society and begin recycling regularly, you will start to inspire others to do the same. Each individual needs to learn how recycling can impact the surroundings and why disposing of waste responsibly is essential.

Featured Image Credit: Jasmin Schreiber, Unsplash


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