20 million pounds of unwanted Christmas lights end up in the hands of the Christmas tree light capital of the world, Shijao, China, each year.
Their industry built on old lights follows the age-old saying "one man's trash is another man's treasure," seeing this large quantity of unwanted lighting melted down and separated into brass copper and plastic materials for carious implementations ranging from clothing to electronic goods.
This information was first published by Adam Minter in his book titles "Junkyard Planet," seeing him travel to this utopia of trash and research the process of churning 2200-pound bales of lights into re-usable raw materials. Thanks to China's cheap labor and goods exports, it's claimed that the ships transporting goods to the U.S. and other Western Nations often come back empty-handed, with no cargo on-board. This is where they can utilize their light-load for good, often carrying back waste paper to be churned into toilet paper or in this case - discarded Christmas lights for a new lease on life.