MACON COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — If you don’t know what to do with the unwanted strings of Christmas lights, the Macon County Environmental Management Recycling Center has a solution.

The center will collect Christmas lights from Dec. 5 to Jan. 31. Residents can put strings of lights in the specially-marked, blue collection box outside the recycling center at 1750 North 21st Street in Decatur.

Residents don’t have to remove bulbs from light strands before drop-off. However, all packaging and attachments such as hangers, garland or decorations should be removed.

According to the recycling center, recycling light strands is a better option than throwing them in the trash. It allows the metals and plastics in the strands to be reused in new products – reducing costs, conserving resources and saving energy.

The recycling center also encourages holiday decorators to consider LED lights when replacing old strings as they use which use about a tenth of the energy of conventional lights and typically last many times longer.

The center also helps recycle other holiday items. For cut trees, residents can ask the tree retailer about return & mulch programs, call the waste hauler for their pick-up schedule or drop off at the compost site. Wrapping paper, cards and boxes can be placed in curbside recycling or drop-off boxes throughout Macon County. Residents can refer to the recycling guide for disposing of other unwanted household items.