How to Recycle Old or Broken Christmas Lights

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With Christmas right around the corner, it's officially the time to deck the halls and decorate our trees. But if you noticed a light on your tree that won't sparkle on one side or you just want to splurge on new LED Christmas lights ($15.99, Amazon), you may be wondering, "Can christmas lights be recycled?" Fortunately, there's an easy way to recycle Christmas lights and feel good about it.

How to Recycle Christmas Lights 

In recent years, shoppers have had the option of recycling Christmas lights at Home Depot or Lowe's. In 2015, Home Depot hosted a Christmas light trade-in event, offering do-gooders $3, $4, and $5 coupons for every string of lights they brought in. Though Home Depot has no information about an upcoming trade-in for 2018, you can call your store to learn if they offer store-specific rewards for donating used lights. Ridding yourself of used, broken lights means one less worry this holiday season — and that's a gift in and of itself. 

From what we can tell based on previous years' trade-in events at Home Depot, Christmas lights can be brought in starting in early November. The Home Depot recycling event usually ends in mid-November, so it might not be a bad idea to bring down the old Christmas lights when you grab the Halloween decorations so you're prepared by Thanksgiving. 

But let's say there isn't a Lowe's or Home Depot nearby. In that case, check with your local government or recycling companies to see if they will take your lights. You can also ship them off to Christmas Light Source in the Dallas-Forth Worth area at the following address: Christmas Light Source Recycling Program 4313 Elmwood Drive Benbrook, TX 76116. (Chances are they may even take your old Halloween lights, too. Just make sure you check with them before sending them away.) Christmas Light Source will use the proceeds from the recycling to buy books and toys, which they will then donate to Toys for Tots. How amazing is that?

How to Donate Christmas Lights 

If you don't want to deal with the hassle of shipping things, you may be asking yourself, "Where can I recycle Christmas lights?" The good news is that thrift stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army will accept your used lights — just please don't donate broken Christmas lights. You can also ask if your church or even friends would be willing to take them off your hands.

One thing to remember, however, is that you can totally reuse your Christmas lights; they aren't just for Christmas. All-white bulbs can shine — literally — at a wedding, and putting a colored plastic light-bulb cover over your string can transform it into a great Halloween or Easter decoration. 

Because this time of year is all resolutions and striving to be a better person, why not get a head start on your New Year's resolutions and declutter? You might find you'd rather not mess with hanging lights next year and opt for a Christmas projector with white lights instead.

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