Holiday Lights Recycling Drive to reduce long-term carbon impact on environment

Helena Wang

Ella Lipnik, Green Action Club (GAC) co-president and junior, gives GAC sponsor Carey Anderson a box of recycled holiday lights. The holiday lights recycling drive is offered through Jan. 20. (Addie Jacobsen)

Established in 2011, the annual Holiday Lights Recycling Drive will offer Carmel residents an opportunity to recycle used and unwanted holiday lights. Carmel Clay Schools’ (CCS) Green Teams, Technology Recyclers, City of Carmel, City of Carmel Utilities and White’s Ace Hardware are working together to offer the drive through Jan. 20. 

Ella Lipnik, Green Action Club (GAC) co-president and junior, said there are locations around CHS where people can still recycle their lights.

Lipnik said, “If you need to recycle any holiday lights, you can either drop them off at Door 4 (at this school) where there are brown cardboard boxes you can put the lights in. You could also go to Room F104, where GAC sponsor Carey Anderson has a box outside of (her classroom).”

Since the start of the collaborative program, more than eight tons of holiday lights have been recycled. According to, “to recycle Christmas lights, recycling centers shred the strings and bulbs into smaller pieces. Those pieces are then separated into raw materials, like plastic, glass, and copper and reused to make new products.” 

Roman Gralak

Additionally, Julien Doty, GAC co-president and senior, said recycling old lights is a great way to reduce environmental impact.

Doty said, “The holiday times are a unique moment in our community where we want to have Christmas spirit and celebrate the times and we do that through lighting up houses (with lights) and it looks really pretty, but we often forget that Christmas lights can be sitting in landfills for thousands of years and not decomposing into the soil so this is just a good opportunity to minimize our impact on the environment while still preserving the joy of the holiday spirit.”

Along those same lines, Kelli Prader, City of Carmel Utilities manager of customer relations and education, said the drive can help lessen the carbon footprint.

“The holiday lights recycling drive is getting the lights out of trash cans in Carmel and just reducing the long-term carbon impact on our environment,” she said.

Moreover, Doty said GAC is raising awareness of the drive by promoting it on social media.

He said, “GAC is doing a lot of social media promotion and letting people know that this is an option for them to have their holiday lights recycled. We have bins at different spots of the school, so if you see one, it’s a great way to bring your holiday lights and recycle them.”