Ethical Christmas Lights
December 3, 2017 8:43 AM   Subscribe

After reading about the horrific conditions under which most christmas lights are made, I have stopped buying them. Does anyone know if there are brands of christmas lights that are produced under ethical conditions and where one could purchase them?
posted by robverb to Shopping (7 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
There's not really an ethical place to buy anything under capitalism. Not being glib, it's just an unfortunate truth. If Christmas lights make you happy maybe get some and also donate to a relevant charity?
posted by masquesoporfavor at 8:52 AM on December 3, 2017 [7 favorites]

Thrift stores? At least you wouldn't be contributing to the manufacture of new lights.
posted by christinetheslp at 8:56 AM on December 3, 2017 [13 favorites]

Huh, I was under the impression that most of the LED strings were made almost entirely by machines. The machine makes gigantic strings which workers then cut into the proper length and attach the electric plug/battery compartment and driver module.

Not that labor practices in most Chinese factories are great to begin with, but they are generally better than the prisons highlighted in the article.
posted by wierdo at 10:03 AM on December 3, 2017

It's an odd article; doesn't have much linkage between the 1-2 paragraphs about Christmas lights and the other ten paragraphs detailing brutal prison conditions. Another factor, unmentioned in the article, is holiday lights recycling -- they can be, but that operation also occurs when the pieces are shipped back to China. (I've asked civic workers in January why they're cutting the strands of lights off the trees, why not unwind them and use 'em again next year, but no -- it's cheaper to just buy new.) Anyway, to answer your question -- search eBay for vintage Christmas lights and get yourself some good ol' Made in USA incandescents, which were probably manufactured a lot more ethically (certainly not by prison labor).
posted by Rash at 10:23 AM on December 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

Konstsmide make very high quality lights and I think they are all still made in Sweden. However it looks like they are pretty hard/impossible to find in the USA, I suspect they don't support the lower USA/Canada voltage.
posted by Lanark at 3:25 PM on December 3, 2017

I would think anything made in the USA would fit the bill, and yet weirdly it seems like no Christmas lights are made in the USA. This company, which sells lights from China, claims they only sell lights from suppliers that have ethical conditions, if you trust a company's own website, of course.

I would maybe buy used lights or get lights someone doesn't want so you don't contribute to buying new ones.

And for Rash, there are some other reports about this topic than the Washington Post article. See here and here and here and you get the idea.
posted by AppleTurnover at 5:03 PM on December 3, 2017

Response by poster: Thanks for your responses, everyone. As always, I learned a lot from you all.

Think I'm just going to do without the lights.
posted by robverb at 1:52 PM on December 5, 2017

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