The holiday season is upon us, and as we deck the halls with festive lights and decor, the Dubuque Metropolitan Area Solid Waste Agency has invited residents to participate in their annual Holiday Lights Recycling Program. Over its five years running, the initiative has successfully recycled over 12,000 pounds of lights, contributing to a cleaner and greener environment.


Unwanted holiday lights can be dropped off at designated locations until January 13, 2024. Convenient drop-off points include the City of Dubuque Municipal Services Center and local libraries like Carnegie Stout Public Library and Dubuque County Library Asbury Branch. The marked containers are accessible at the various hours found below.

Suburbia Lights Up For Christmas
Getty Images

Dubuque Drop Locations:

  • Outside the City of Dubuque Municipal Services Center, 925 Kerper Court (next to the Public entrance doors), open 24 hours a day
  • Carnegie Stout Public Library, 360 West 11th Street, Monday – Thursday 9am – 7pm; Friday – Saturday 9am – 5pm; Sunday 12 – 5pm
  • Dubuque County Library Asbury Branch, 5290 Grand Meadow Drive, Monday – Thursday 9am – 8pm; Friday 9am – 6pm; Saturday 9am – 3pm; Sunday Closed
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Why recycle holiday lights?

Christmas lights, though seemingly small, can have a significant environmental impact. Composed of materials like metal, plastic, and glass, they take years to break down in landfills, contributing to pollution and waste. Moreover, improperly discarded lights can pose challenges at recycling centers; getting tangled in gears and causing jams in machinery when not disposed of correctly.

Scattered modern LED Christmas lights
Credit: CaronB

Recycling old Christmas lights involves shredding the strings and bulbs into smaller pieces, which are then separated into raw materials such as plastic, glass, and copper. These materials are subsequently reused to make new products, promoting a sustainable and circular economy.

It's essential to note that the recycling process helps support the nations transition to energy-efficient LED lights, which are not only more environmentally friendly but also more durable and energy-efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs. Dubuque residents can contribute to a greener holiday season for all by reducing waste and supporting sustainable practices. Together, we can light up Dubuque with a commitment to a brighter future!

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