I’m considering switching to LED holiday lights to decorate my house this year. If I make the switch, what do I do with the old tangled string of lights?
Chris, Vancouver

Making the switch to more energy-efficient LED (light-emitting diode) holiday lights is an excellent tradition to establish this year. LEDs use 90 per cent less energy, last 10 times longer, and are more durable because they don’t have filaments or glass bulbs like traditional lights. Where they don’t differ much is in the price. You might also want to purchase a timer to save even more money on your utility bill.

As for recycling that old string of lights, you have options. Most regional recycling facilities can help. In 2009, for example, BC Hydro set up an incandescent light-string recycling program in the Lower Mainland during the Bright Nights in Stanley Park seasonal event. No matter where you live, you can visit the website of your utility provider to see if it is hosting a similar local event.

Various retailers, such as Home Depot, have also hosted holiday light exchanges in the past. Find out if your local hardware store is collecting old strings. Some stores will even reward your recycling and energy-saving efforts by offering discounts on LED options.

Holiday LEDs is an e-commerce company that offers a program to recycle your lights. It’s free, but you will have to pay to ship the lights to Michigan. Consider getting together with friends or family and put together one parcel. In 2009/2010 Holiday LEDs recycled about 4,500 kilograms of old lights. Find the company online at holidayleds.com.


Lindsay Coulter gives you the straight goods on living green. Send your questions to queenofgreen@metronews.ca. For more great tips, visit The David Suzuki Foundation at davidsuzuki.org.