Don't Throw Away Old Christmas Lights

Dec 5, 2012

When you got your old Christmas lights to hang up this year, did some of the strings not light up?

Christmas light strands contain small amounts of lead.
Credit KWGS News

Don’t throw them away—they contain small amounts of lead, which, if not safely disposed of, can be harmful to the environment.

Michael Patton with the MET says there’s lead in the copper wires of the lights “to help protect the tree from getting too hot and catching fire.”

“Even small amounts of exposure to lead can cause real problems to humans,” he said. “So we really don’t want these in the landfill, where they can leech into the groundwater—or in Tulsa’s case, where they burn, and that can go up into the air, and then we breath it.”

He asks that you take old light strands to the MET location at 34th and Sheridan, which has electronic waste recycling capabilities.

If you have an artificial tree with attached lights that don’t work, the MET asks that you separate those strands from the tree before bringing them in.