If you’ve got a bunch of old tangled up, half of the string won’t light, broken Christmas lights, your first thought is probably just to throw them away. That’s what I did yesterday as a matter of fact, but I probably shouldn’t have done that. You shouldn’t just toss them in the trash, especially if they’re an older set.
Some older Christmas light strings that contain Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs, or CFLs, which contain mercury, so they need to be disposed of in a safe way. If those are broken, they can release that mercury out into the environment which is hazardous.
Broken lights can be taken in to hardware stores including The Home Depot, Lowe’s and Ace Hardware, who will then recycle them. And they’ll also recycle your unwanted CFL light bulbs too.
If you have Christmas lights that are still working, consider donating them to a thrift store or Goodwill.