How to dispose of fluorescent light bulbs

By | July 16, 2016

Why is proper disposal important

When a CFL (Compact fluorescent lamp) light bulb in your house burns out or stops lighting up, your only option is to throw it away and get a new one. Its important to know that these cfl light bulbs need to be disposed properly and not just be thrown in the regular trash can.

Fluorescent lamps contain many chemical substances, some of which are toxic and hazardous if released in the environment. One such substance is mercury which is a toxic and harmful to bio life if it gets released in the environment or the atmosphere.

Things that you throw in the trash can are often used in landfills where they mix with soil, or they are burnt, which releases harmful gases in the atmosphere. That is why it is important to prevent harmful toxic substances from going out unchecked. For this, you need to properly dispose the cfl bulbs.

cfl bulbs

Recycle fluorescent lamps

No, this does not mean that you can somehow reuse the bulb or get a new one in exchange or get few bucks selling it off.

Recycling involves depositing the bulbs at waste collection centers from where they go into industrial processing hubs that reuse the bulb to make something else.

In the process of recycling various ingredients of the bulb, like the mercury, the glass and all are reused in other industrial processes and put to the right use. This ensures safety for consumers and the environment.

US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that you should take advantage of local options for recycling CFLs rather than disposing them off in the regular trash can.

However, recycling facilities are not yet widely available in all areas. Some options include

1. Local waste collection agencies
2. Local retailers offering in-store recycling or waste collection.

1. Local waste collection service

Visit to find out about local waste collection agencies in your area. Or search google directly for waste collection agencies near you.

Some of these agencies may provide services free of cost, while some may charge a small fee. Some of these agencies collect the household wastes only few times every year, so you may have to collect all your waste in one place till they come. Some agencies operate throughout the year.

2. Local retailers

Another very simple option is to just visit the local hardware supply shop and deposit all your waste over there, if they accept it.

Some hardware supply stores and retailers offer in-store recycling so they will collect all that you want to throw away.


If you are unable to find any suitable recycling facility in vicinity then you should still not dispose cfls in trashcans. Instead of disposing them, store them somewhere in your house along with other hazardous waste items.

Use a plastic container and collect everything in there. Keep collecting like that till some suitable waste collection agency is available in your locality or you can find some other safe alternative.

Just make sure that the bulbs can stay there safely without the risk of breaking. If they break under some kind of pressure the toxic chemicals may spread in the air in your house.

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