Day 10: Christmas Lights

We’re almost to the end, and today’s topic couldn’t be more important.

Christmas Lights: one of the most overlooked waste contributors of the Christmas season. Why? Because they were cheaply made, with plastic, and most cannot be recycled.

A lot of these strings of Christmas lights were not designed to be used year after year. Bulbs die and soon half your light strand is dead. Worse, if you overload your circuit or your tree is too dry, you could actually start a fire!

That’s why we are weary in our normal advice to “fix and reuse!” To be frank, if these lights aren’t safe, maybe reuse isn’t the best idea.

So what should you do with old Christmas lights?

According to, old lights are nothing but energy wasters. “Send those old Christmas lights to the recycling center, and go with efficient LED lights. You can also save energy by using fewer lights and unplugging when you’re not enjoying them” (

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Here’s a great resource on How to Recycle Christmas lights

What about new lights? Well,we don’t really like creating new materials in the zero waste process, especially if they only serve one purpose for a couple weeks a year.

LED lights are considered to be the most environmentally friendly, but even LED Christmas lights come with plastic. There are some LED lights that are solar powered, but how long do the lights get power in a cloudy winter? And how long will the lights actually last? A year? Consider this when making new purchases.

Candles are another option, but a ZWC I can’t really stand behind something that could potentially set your living room ablaze.

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