Holiday Light Recycling 2011-2012



This program is now run by counties and vocational centers.

See list of year-round recycling locations >>

Click to see this year's map of drop-off locations

Minnesotans are encouraged to drop off their old, broken holiday lights at any participating location during the holiday season as part of Recycle Your Holidays™

Bin of holiday lights to be recycled Click here to see a map of drop-off locations
accepting holiday lights this season. We also provide
a mobile-friendly version of the map.

The partners and the program: The Recycling Association of Minnesota (RAM), in partnership with the Clean Energy Resource Teams, is again launching Recycle Your Holidays™ for the 2011-2012 holiday season. This first-of-its-kind effort in the country began in 2009-2010.

Recycle Your Holidays™ recycles every part of the light strings. Even the little lights are recycled by another project partner, Green Lights Recycling. Our goal last year was to recycle 50,000 pounds of lights which we more than doubled! This year our goal is to recycle over 200,000 light strands and to encourage Minnesotans to use LED light strands instead, which will save a lot of energy.

This is a great chance to combine recycling with energy efficiency. Now is the time to get rid of broken light strands and upgrade to new, high-efficient LED holiday lights from your local hardware store. According to the Department of Energy, running LED holiday lights on one 6-foot tree for 12 hours per day for 40 days can save 90% or more energy when compared to traditional incandescent holiday lights. Over the past two years, Recycle Your Holidays™ has saved 2.7 million kWh with 280,000 lbs of lights recycled because recycling is more efficient than creating new metal from scratch. This amounts to a bit over $200,000 in avoided energy costs!

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Testimonials from Past Collection Sites

We had a good response. People were excited to have a place to drop off their lights instead of just throwing them in the garbage.
Stacey Tenhoff, Manager of the Appleton Hardware Hank
[Recycle Your Holidays] was a great program! Family members loved it; It was so simple—I made a sign, hung it above the bucket, and families that visited utilized it. People that brought their lights in often commented that it was a great idea to not put old lights in the landfill but put towards something useful. We want to do it next year!
Mary Milbrath, Housing Director and Director of Nursing at Laurels Edge Assisted Living in Mankato
[Recycle Your Holidays] went really well, so well be we had to use bigger containers …32 gallon garbage cans. Customers really liked it; they could get rid of their old lights in an environmentally friendly way. Our store gave $3 rebates if people replaced their old lights with LEDs and this went over very well, too. We’ll enthusiastically do this again next year.
Nieman, Manager of the St. Peter Ace Hardware
[Recycle Your Holidays] was a unique niche, and very easy to facilitate. Our student council members were surprised by how quickly the bins filled up!
Holly Evans, Guidance Counseler, Lake Crystal High School
[Recycle Your Holidays] was a successful project in Granite Falls. We collected about 10 boxes of lighting strings and then delivered them to Benson. People appreciated it because it was convenient; it was easy to do, and just took a little volunteer time. The local hardware store box was always full. This was a highly successful project and we hope to do to again next year.
VanHoof, Granite Falls EDA
People were excited to get rid of their old lights. I’d estimate that 80% didn’t replace them; our sales this year of all kinds of LEDs have been good. We’d do it again!
Rick Pralle, Manager of St. Cloud Ace Hardware (8th street)

This is a project of the Recycling Association of Minnesota

Recycling Association of Minnesota The Recycling Association of Minnesota (RAM) is committed to promoting resource conservation through waste prevention, reuse, recycling, composting and purchasing practices using the most cost effective and environmentally sound methods available in Minnesota. Learn more at


Check out other lighting resources

The CERTs Right Light Guide
Great Lighting Links
Ask CERTs a Question

Minnesotans building a clean energy future


    CERTs Partners:

Minnesota Department of Commerce University of Minnesota Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships and Extension Great Plains Institute Southwest Regional Development Commission