With the holiday season coming to an end, quite a number of Americans will be discarding their light strips into recycling bins, whose eventual destination is the Chinese plant. The Company then mashes up the lights, categorizes the plastic parts and makes them into functional stuff like slipper bottoms and insulation.
Processing about 20 million pounds of electronic waste every year, the Shijiao area has nine plants responsible for recycling Christmas lights. Yong Chang alone recycles 2.2 million pounds worth of lights every year.
The procedure itself is quite simple, starting with the untangling of the lights, then shredding the untangled lights, after which water is added to aid in the separation of the brass and copper from the plastic outer coverings and the glass.
The different components are then separated and deposited in appropriate containers on a conveyor belt. The used water is not dumped in the Shijiao area as it is also recycled and used repeatedly.
The broken-down copper and brass is then sold to a plant where it is melted down while the recycled plastic is sold to firms that use the rubber and plastic insulation in the manufacture of soles of rubber and similar products.
Even though Christmas lights can be recycled right here in the US, the requisite processing to finish the process are not available. Factories which process scrap metal consider the wire bits too tiny to deal with, and the companies who would buy the recycled plastic are just not available.
Thus, ensure that your lights which are at the end of their life spans are recycled after Christmas, so they could possibly get to the Yong Chang factory, to return next year in the form of a brand new pair of slippers beneath the tree.