What to Do With Broken Solar Lights?

Judy asked me last night-

“I found some solar lights in my garden. While some of the solar lights are broken, some are non-working, and I don’t know what to do with them. Are there any good ideas for creative uses of these stakes-type fixtures?”

In this guide, we shall try to invent her question of what to do with old, broken, or non-working solar lights that no longer work.

Remember that the first thing you need to do in order to fix a broken solar light, start by testing the power with just an hour-long test at night. If your unit works properly and charges fully after this short amount of time, then you’re good.

What do you do with old solar lights?

Every day, we need to reduce the amount of energy and materials we use for our daily needs. Solar lights are a simple and cost-effective way to do this. They are affordable, man-made products that can be recycled into lower-valued products or their raw materials. Where else can you get back $1 worth of electricity for flipping on a switch? It’s cheap, and it’s green… so get up off your butt and start recycling solar lights.

Ha Ha… alright, I’m done. Just keep these ideas in mind when considering what to recycle.

Aged solar lights make for some creative reuse projects so, if you happen to have an old set of these outdoor lights that are not working anymore and have been lying around long enough, so as not be worth repairing or replacing just yet. How can recycling bring new life to your yard while also keeping it green?

Plastic solar lights are typically not recycled because they are made of too dense materials to recycle. Still, metal solar lights can be done with the help of recycling programs like Nation Metals Recycling.

Plastic and real glass electronics (e.g., LED bulbs) cannot be recycled and must go in the trash, while silver metal items such as stainless steel, aluminum, and copper wire can be recycled at Nation Metals Recycling. It doesn’t make economic sense for some people to transport the large amounts of old solar light panels for recycling when new ones can be purchased inexpensively from stores like Home Depot or Lowe’s. Still, for others, it may make better financial sense to do so.

Are recycling solar lights dangerous?

They are made of hazardous materials like lead and mercury.

Solar lights contain lithium batteries. Solar-charged batteries can leak, overheat, or explode with shocking suddenness if damaged by dropping the device or exposing it to water. To make matters worse, disposal methods for solar lights can be expensive (disposal often involves crushing the light in an autoclave).

The list of materials on these products is long enough that they cannot be recycled without extra precautions being taken on behalf of recyclers. And even if all materials on these waste products are found to be non-hazardous, recycling them will still require significantly more time and resources than it would take just to buy new ones instead.

What to do with broken solar lights? Audience’s opinions

Opinion 1:

Beverly said my husband came up with a great idea to make our home more welcoming. We took the solar top off and removed all bulbs from it, then painted over any existing designs there before. I used cheap spray paint for this project because we wanted nothing too fancy or elegant, but still looked nice enough where people would notice them when walking by (LOL).

After waiting several hours until each coat had dried completely, not damage anything during the installation process. We put them back together, separating the solar top and bulbs (which were replaced). Then, we planted little flowers in it and made a little border up our walk away with their help. My husband may be a genius, but I’m an all-star handywoman – he taught me well. 🙂

Opinion 2:

I had no idea that all I needed to do was replace the battery, and my lights would be working again! The first thing you could try is putting nail polish on your fingers, but it might not work. I heard if you paint the tops of your fingers with clear nail polish, they will work again.

Maybe next time around, I’ll try fingernail polish as an experiment? Remember that- If you shouldn’t replace the batteries in those lights, then all you need is a new power source. It’s amazing how much this fixed things up.

Opinion 3:

You can glue upside-down bowls on the non-working solar panels and paint them like mushrooms. Gluing glass jars of them in place to hold candles will be fine, or you could make a bird’s nest with eggs that are made from craft store items too. After that, be conscious of placing these delightful fairy domes around your garden for an enchanting display of nature’s wonders this springtime (or summer).

Fixing solar lights with nail polish

After a long time, if you clean the plastic frames of solar lights with nail polish or any remover and then let it dry before replacing them back on your house, they will not have that dirty film over them anymore.

The best part is when this sticky stuff comes off easily without leaving any residue behind, which means dirt can’t get stuck in between like normal. It sounds stupid at first but trusts me – just give it all a try once because I know my neighbors love these new improvements too.

We are going to discuss how nail polish can restore the sunshine & how fixing solar lights with nail polish become easier. It is known that the best way to fix your acrylic toy is by using nail polish. You must coat the surfaces with clear or other colors according to what you want, and then just peel off after applying for permanent results.

Solar cell cleaning using Nail polish

The photovoltaic at the top of a solar light experience every kind of weather condition directly. It’s going to get dirty fast, and when it isn’t clear, sunlight will not penetrate its surface, which means that your lights won’t be fully charged even if you thought they were before.

One way around this problem is by periodically cleaning off all dirt from inside those cells with clean or moist rag cloths (the best choice would be an antibacterial one). If possible, try adding some white nail polish onto their plastic parts, too – just enough so that everything looks really clean without being overdone but still bright like new snow here in the wintertime.

Remember cleaning batteries and light covers after that

Cleaning batteries

What if your batteries get corroded? Corroding is a serious issue with solar light batteries because they’re usually waterproof and subject to heavy rain. The moisture in the air can cause harmful chemicals like white powder or bacteria that could lead you down an expensive path of repairs.

It’s important not only for aesthetic purposes but also for safety – there may be toxins inside those corrupted cells causing illnesses when ingested by humans.

The first thing I would do (though this might depend on how far gone it already seems) would try cleaning them off using soft brush bristles + water. You don’t want any rough edges anywhere near contact points either, so make sure everything has been cleaned thoroughly before reinserting.

Cleaning light covers

The light cover can be cleaned using the same technique as described above. You should clean it off with a towel if not washed quickly and then rinse under hot running water for better results in order to avoid any dirt buildup on its surface, which will lead you to have an inefficient lamp or even worse. No lights at all!


I think this guide helped you with what to do with broken solar lights. You can use these lights (even if not fixed after changing batteries or nail polish technique) for decoration as the recycling process helps to reduce pollution.

There have been many talks lately about getting rid of the so-called easy things like solar lights and not wasting time recycling. It might be true that we can’t recycle everything, but there’s plenty that we can.

Recycling solar lights saves energy and produces less pollution than producing new materials from scratch, which is why it’s such an important part of repairing our environment after centuries of abuse.

Don’t turn your broken solar lights into the trash. Remember, Less trash in landfills means reduced risk for groundwater contamination while also ensuring a cleaner environment while naturally beautifying your community at the same time.

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