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Recycle your old and broken Christmas lights at Arsenal Credit Union

Arsenal News
Recycle your old and broken Christmas lights at Arsenal Credit Union

Help keep your old strands of lights from ending up in landfills.

From now through noon on Friday, Jan. 4, we will have collection bins outside of our Arnold, Webster Groves and Florissant branches for you to drop off your old or broken Christmas lights to have recycled for free. Midwest Recycling Center, the same company we partner with for our eRecycling events in the summer, will be collecting and recycling the lights.

Please only place old and broken strands of lights in these bins, and not other decorations you do not want anymore.

Benches covered in snow with Christmas lights in the background

Interesting facts about Christmas lights

You couldn’t always just go to Target or Walmart and pick up strands of lights to light up your home. Christmas lights have evolved over the years into what we have today.

  • The original Christmas lights were candles hung on trees. It wasn’t until 1800 that electric Christmas lights were invented by Thomas Edison.
  • Christmas lights didn’t become a “thing” until 1882 when Edward Johnson, vice president of Edison Illuminating Company, hung Edison’s strands on a tree to create a spectacle.
    • President Grover Cleveland used lights on the White House tree in 1895, making them even more popular.
  • Even though they were popular, it wasn’t until the 1930s that electric lights replaced candles. Up until then, they were too expensive.
    • To have a light display, an electrician had to wire each individual bulb. It cost about $300 (about $2,000 today) to light a single tree.
  • The New York Rockefeller Center tree was lit for the first time in 1933. Today it is decorated with over 50,000 LED lights.
    • While they’re a little more expensive, LED lights last longer (up to 100,000 hours) and use up to 90 percent less energy than traditional, incandescent bulbs.
  • America’s Christmas lights account for 6 percent of the country’s energy consumption in December.
    • We use an average of 6.63 billion kilowatt hours of electricity on Christmas lights annually.
Christmas tree lit up in New York
The Christmas Tree in New York’s Rockefeller Center

Christmas light safety tips

  • Unplug your Christmas lights before putting them up or taking them down.

    A bunch of Christmas lights in a dangerous plug
    Don’t do this with your Christmas lights

  • Read the UL tag to know how many strands of lights you can safely connect.
  • Always have someone hold  the ladder for you when decorating high places.
  • Incandescent lights heat up and can become a fire hazard, while LED lights stay cool.
    • Set a timer so your incandescent lights don’t overheat.


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