Let There Be Light Recycling

Posted on November 9, 2009 by The Modern Gal


Even though I no longer own my own home anymore, I love thumbing through the Home Depot specials in the Sunday paper and online, and on Sunday I found a very awesome green offer from the HD.

From now through Sunday, if you take up to five new or used strands of incandescent Christmas lights to the Home Depot (yes, there’s no denying that the Christmas retail season is upon us), you can get $3 off the purchase of a strand of LED lights. LED lights use 80% less energy than the standard lights and last up to 10 times longer, which means they’re a far better way to put some twinkle into your holiday season. They also get the Energy Star seal of approval. They also tend to be a little sturdier than the old-school strands.

According to the HD website, the light bulb coupler (I wish I knew exactly what that was) and the socket plugs are manually clipped from the incandescent strands to start the recycling process, resulting in three byproducts and four raw materials. The byproducts are independently shredded for separation, returning glass, HDPE platics and no-ferrous copper as well as ferrous steel. The prepared separated raw materials are sent to licensed smelters for recasting or remolding.

While we’re on the subject of the Home Depot and recycling lights, the HD is one of the few retailers I know that accepts used CFLs for recycling. My biggest beef with making the transition to CFLs was not being able to toss them in the trash because of the potential leaking of the mercury contained inside them. I also had a problem finding a place to recycle the bulbs. The HD started accepting CFLs about a year ago, and now every store should have a receptacle where you can bag your unbroken CFLs and leave them for the HD to take care of. Thumbs up to the HD for being recycling friendly.


  1. I think this is awesome! I already have all LED lights but I have passed this info on.

    November 9th, 2009 at 1:09 pm
    Comment by Lisa @ Retro Housewife Goes Green
  2. This is a really great program. Old school holiday lights are such energy hogs! And it’s great that old lights aren’t just going to a landfill.

    November 9th, 2009 at 5:10 pm
    Comment by Allie
  3. Great tip!

    November 10th, 2009 at 10:44 am
    Comment by courtney
  4. Nice idea, but what’s Home Despot going to do with all those lights? If there were some reassurance that they’d recycle the components, that would be nice.

    I plan to hold on to a few of my old xmas light strands, for other purposes. I’ll be starting a few citrus trees in containers in our zone 6 climate next spring. We’ll have to pull the trees into our unheated garage over the winter. I plan to twine the old inefficient lights, which by definition convert some electricity into heat rather than light, around the lemon and lime trees. The lights will go on when the temperatures are really ghastly, protecting the trees from damage.

    I still may get some LED lights for the tree though.

    November 13th, 2009 at 7:01 pm
    Comment by Kate@LivingTheFrugalLife
  5. Ah, sorry, I missed the paragraph detailing the recycling when I jumped below the fold. Good on HD.

    November 13th, 2009 at 7:02 pm
    Comment by Kate@LivingTheFrugalLife
  6. we are in the process of upgrading older Christmas lights to the LED lights. I will keep this in mind as I go to Home Depot depot quite often.

    January 6th, 2010 at 1:15 am
    Comment by Mark

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If It Doesn’t Smell, Don’t Wash It


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So if it looks clean, and it smells clean, call it clean and wear it again. Consider hanging worn clothes out on your clothesline to freshen them up between wearings.

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