Decorative Lights Recycling

If you’re like most people, you probably have a box or two of old holiday lights or decorative lights taking up space in your garage or basement. 

Luckily, there are now options for recycling your decorative lights. This method not only reduces waste but also conserves energy and resources. So, before you toss your light strings in the trash, be sure to check with your local recycling center to see if it offers decorative lights recycling or if they hold a holiday light event in the winter.

Can string lights be recycled?

Yes, string lights can be recycled. Many recycling centers accept string lighting of all types including incandescent and fluorescent. It is important to make sure all bulbs are cool and free of broken glass before recycling. By recycling string lights, you can help reduce waste going into landfills and conserve resources. 

Should LED lights be recycled?

Yes, LED lights should be recycled! LEDs are made of a variety of materials such as metals, plastics and glass, which makes them recyclable. In addition, the recycling process for LEDs can be beneficial to the environment because it reduces the amount of materials that would otherwise end up in landfills. LED lights are also energy-efficient, meaning that recycling them can help save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

What recyclable materials are in decorative lights?

Decorative lights typically contain a variety of recyclable materials such as metal, plastic, glass and wiring. The most common type of decorative lights are Christmas lights which usually consist of wire strands that can be made up of either metal or plastic with small bulbs attached. Although Cohen only recycles metal, learn more about where to recycle non-metal materials.

What Happens to Recycled Lights?

The majority of recycled light fixtures are made into new products like aluminum cans, steel pipes, and other metal products. Wire from recycled Christmas lights is typically used to make new electrical wire. However, some light fixtures are used for more unique purposes. For example, some companies use recycled glass from light bulbs to make countertops or jewelry. So, if you’re looking for a unique way to repurpose your old light fixtures, consider recycling. 

How to Recycle Decorative Lights and Holiday Lights

Most decorative lights are made of metal, glass, and plastic, all of which can be recycled. There are many ways to recycle old lights, and the best way to recycle them will depend on the type of lights you have. Here are a few easy ways to do it:

  • If you have incandescent Christmas lights, you can recycle them by taking them to a local recycling center. 
  • If you have LED Christmas lights, you can recycle them by sending them back to the manufacturer. Your recycling center may or may not take this type of bulb – call ahead and find out first.
  • You can also give a second life to Christmas lights by donating them to a local charity or thrift store, if they are still working. 
  • Some hardware stores offer decorative light recycling programs. Call ahead to see if your local store participates.
  • Many cities offer decorative light recycling programs during the holidays. Contact your city or county government to find out more about this program.

Christmas lights recycling is a great way to reduce waste and help the environment. It’s also a great way to save money on your Christmas light bill. So, if you’re looking for a way to reduce your carbon footprint during holiday season, consider recycling.

What are the benefits of recycling my decorative lights?

Recycling your decorative lights reduces waste and conserve resources. It helps save energy, reduce landfill pollution, lower production cost of new products, and save money on electricity bills. Recycled materials also support the creation of new jobs in the recycling industry.

Here is a deeper look at some of the benefits of recycling decorative lights:  


1.  Save Money

One of the biggest benefits of recycling Christmas lights is that it can save you a lot of money. If you’re someone who goes through a lot of lights each year, recycling them at a scrap recycling center, where you are paid for their value by weight, can help offset the cost of buying new lights. 

2.  Support Local Businesses

When you recycle your Christmas lights, you also support local businesses. Many recycling centers are small businesses that employ members of the community. 

Holiday lights recycling allows you to keep these businesses afloat and contribute to the local economy. Non-profit organizations can also collect lights for as a fundraising effort.

3.  Reduce Waste and Help the Environment

It’s not just your closet that gets cluttered with old holiday decorations. Each year, millions of pounds of waste are sent to landfills, where they take up space and release harmful toxins into the environment. 

Recycling your Christmas lights helps to reduce this waste and keep harmful materials out of landfills. By recycling your decorative lights, you’ll be playing a small but important role in preserving our planet for future generations. 

4.  Induce Creativity

Re-using old Christmas lights can also be a great way to get creative and make something new out of something old. The holiday season is the best time to get creative and see what you can come up with. You might be surprised by how much fun you have in the process.

5.  Feel Good About Yourself

When you recycle, you’re doing your part to help protect the environment and support local businesses. Knowing that you’re making a positive impact on the world can be a great feeling. So make the environmentally friendly choice — recycle your decorative lights.

What are the risks of not recycling my decorative lights?

Not recycling your decorative lights can have a number of environmental impacts. By not recycling, you are contributing to the growing problem of e-waste and adding to landfill pollution. You also increase energy use by forcing new products to be manufactured from raw materials instead of reusing existing resources.

Can I make money from recycling my decorative lights?

Recycling decorative lights is a great way to get paid, but it’s more than just tossing them in the bin. Factors like hazardous waste can mean extra handling and create small fees for recyclers. Even with a small fee, you’re making the world around you greener and your own life leaner – helping both the environment and economy while decluttering at home. 

Can I Recycle During the Holiday Season?

Yes! The holiday season can be a time when we produce a lot of waste in wrapping paper, ribbons, boxes, envelopes, tape and more. Some of these materials are recyclable in your curbside bin or neighborhood collection point, but some, like lights and electronics, don’t belong in the trash OR the recycling. 

You can still recycle your metal light fixtures during the holidays by taking them to a local metal recycler, hardware store, or thrift shop. Just be sure to sort your lights by type and material, and remove any batteries, before taking them to the recycler.


Cohen is committed to helping you reduce your carbon footprint and promoting a greener environment for us all. That’s why we partnered with different local organizations to hold our annual holiday lights recycling event during the holiday seasonJust bring your unwanted or nonworking decorative lights to one of the participating locations of the event on the designated day, and the recycling company will take care of the rest. 

Don’t let your old decorative lights and holiday lights pile up in your basement or garage. Contact Cohen and let us properly recycle your old lights or other recyclable items you have lying around.

Find A Scrap Yard

Cohen operates several public and commercial recycling centers in Ohio and Kentucky.

HAPPY EARTH WEEK! Get paid more for your scrap at Cohen the week of April 22nd.