Many people are replacing their holiday lights with LEDs and for good reason - they use less energy and last considerably longer than their incandescent predecessor. As an added bonus, you no longer have to worry about one burned out bulb leaving a section of your tree dark! So, what to do with those tangled strands of old lights? Chucking your old lights in the trash might be the easiest solution, but with just a little extra effort, there are plenty of ways to recycle them instead. Last month, large retailers like Home Depot, Sears and Kmart hosted events that recycled old lights with the purchase of new LED strands. While those programs may be over, many other chains are jumping on the bandwagon so check with local stores that sell LEDs to see if this is an option. Additionally, many towns and cities are introducing their own programs. The folks at HouseLogic put together this list for the 2011 season:
- If you live in Minnesota, their Recycle Your Holidays program takes old holiday lights at 400 sites (and it's happy to help you set up a collection point in your neighborhood). Vocational center workers with developmental disabilities disassemble the lights and the parts get recycled.
- When you recycle a string of old holiday lights at one of Crown-ACE Hardware's 17 stores in California, you get a $5 gift certificate redeemable toward a minimum $20 purchase of new holiday lights.
- Elgin Recycling is partnering with over three dozen Illinois cities including Wheaton, Evanston, and Lombard to collect holiday lights and extension cords. Elgin strips the materials and recycles the copper and plastic parts.
- Lowe's stores offer a convenient receptacle to drop off your old holiday lights for recycling, though it's not offering any rebates or coupons.
- Lastly, if you don't have a local holiday light recycling program, you can ship your lights to HolidayLEDs.com, which will send you a coupon good for a 25% discount on the LED holiday light sets it sells.