Don't just trash those old Christmas lights -- recycle them

Old, warn out Christmas lights can be a real hazard. They can shock you or cause a fire. As you take down the lights this year, inspect them before you put them away.

Make sure you carefully unplug things. Use the gripping area that's on the plug. Don't yank on the wire. That can break the insulation and cause exposed wire.

If you find lights that need to be tossed for whatever reason, don't throw them in the trash. Recycle them.

"This year we have really seen an expansion in the number of locations because scrap metal dealers are accepting them because of the copper in the wire," said Tom Watson, King County's Eco Consumer.

Watson says you can take those old holiday lights to any of the six McLendon Hardware stores in King country for recycling, or check with a local scrap dealer. Or see if the recycling program in your county accepts them. For example, the King Country transfer stations that take scrap metal, take the wire.

The Girl Scouts of Western Washington are also collecting holiday lights at bins set up around the Sound.

By the way, new lights might not only be safer, they'll use a lot less electricity.

More information:

Recycle Holiday Lights