Where Christmas Lights Go To Die

Shijiao is a bustling town in China that just so happens to be the unofficial capital of dead and unwanted Christmas lights.

Nine million kilos of old Christmas lights make it through Shijao every year.

Why?

The answer: slippers. The plastic and rubber that is used in Christmas lights wiring can also be re-purposed into slippers and other materials in China. Hence, the demand. Basically, China has figured out how to capitalise and find new life in our seasonal decorations. People who recycle the Christmas lights, separate the plastic wrap that insulates the copper wire and sells it independently from each other. On one end you have copper (which is plenty valuable) and on the other side you have the reusable plastic. The process of getting there is not unlike panning for gold in the modern age. Learn more here.

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