Replacing old compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) and fluorescent light strips with LED lights is an environmental and money-saving decision. The same goes for holiday lights and strands, even if you only use them for a few weeks out of a year and they continue to work. LEDs are more durable, don’t heat up like other types of lights, and don’t use glass, meaning you won’t be shattering a few lights each year.
However, if you decide to switch to LEDs, what do you do with those old bulbs and Christmas lights? First off, don’t just discard them in the trash. Twinkle lights, CFLs, fluorescent bulbs, and incandescents should be recycled. CFLs contain mercury, so if they are not properly discarded, they can break and release small amounts of mercury into the environment. Light strands might also contain lead, which is in some polyvinyl chloride (PVC) wire coverings to make them more flexible and less likely to crack.
Established light recycling programs know what to do with old, used, and even broken lights. Some offer free trade-ins or discounts on new LED holiday lights. If you can’t find a store or local program that recycles lights, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advises checking with a regional or state environmental regulatory agency to see if it’s OK for you to put used or broken CFLs in the regular household trash. If so, seal the bulb tightly in a plastic bag and place it into the trash for the next trash collection.
Source: The Spruce