Recycling Fluorescent Lamps and Tubes

CFLAs we switch to new energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) or known by many as the twisty bulb, we need to be concerned about disposing of them properly when they no longer work or break.

Florescent bulbs contain dangerous levels of mercury and should not be thrown away. In 2006, the state of California banned hazardous wastes, including fluorescent lamps, from disposal in the trash.

All fluorescent lamps and tubes are considered hazardous waste in California and must be recycled – taken to a household hazardous waste disposal facility, or an authorized recycling facility.

Santa Clara County retailers, including OSH and Ace Hardware, are accepting the fluorescent bulbs to recycle free of charge. Check this list of free fluorescent drop-off locations. (PDF)

Broken incandescent bulbs need to be handled with care as the contain mercury. Do not vacuum; wear protective gloves to pick up the broken pieces and use duct tape to pick up small pieces. Place all pieces along with cleaning materials into a sealable plastic bag and recycle along with intact lamps as noted above.

4 Comments so far

  1. joann Landers (unregistered) on January 16th, 2008 @ 7:59 am

    I’m not switching. I plan on buying a lifetime supply of real light bulbs.

  2. Malibu Stacy (unregistered) on January 16th, 2008 @ 12:59 pm

    The catch with recycling at OSH is you have to buy a replacement bulb from them before they will accept the non functioning bulb from the customer. If more people start using the cfl bulbs the Gov has to start making it easier to recycle when these bulbs stop working.

    The odd thing is all those charities doing recycling fairs want electronics but no one will accept bulbs. I guess the tvs and monitors are sold to some scrap dealer in Asia where the restrictions are lax.

  3. mea (unregistered) on September 30th, 2010 @ 6:50 pm

    thats rediculous, it may have mercury but it truely does save 75% energy
    i just took an an energy efficient class and will be working as an auditor, i think after all the training i might know what i am talking about

  4. lax car service (unregistered) on November 17th, 2010 @ 3:07 pm

    Thanks for posting this! Definitely something people need to be aware of!

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