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Where to Recycle CFL Light Bulbs April 8, 2011

Posted by bowmanlamps in compact fluorescent.

The use of compact fluorescent lamps (CFL light bulbs) continues to grow as government mandates for energy-efficient lighting draw nearer.  However, the small amount of mercury contained in CFLs has some people concerned. The potential for enviromental contamination increases as more and more spent CFls are deposited in landfills. With only an estimated 2% of residential consumers recycling CFLs, it’s clear individuals are choosing to toss rather than recycle.

It doesn’t have to be that way. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides  these CFL recycling suggestions which require minimal effort.

“Contact your local waste collection agency by visiting Earth911.com. Many counties and cities have household hazardous waste drop-off locations and/or curbside and other special collection programs. To find locations where you can drop off bulbs, and when and where a collection may be held in your area, contact your local waste collection agency directly by visiting Earth911.com .  Note that waste collection agencies:

  • provide services that are usually free, though some may charge a small fee.
  • sometimes collect household hazardous wastes only once or twice a year, so residents will have to hold on to their light bulbs until the collection takes place. Other collection agencies provide collection services throughout the year.
  • may also collect paints, pesticides, cleaning supplies or batteries.
  • usually accept waste only from residents, although some collection programs include small businesses as well.


“Visit your local retailers. Many hardware supply stores and other retailers offer in-store recycling. Visit Earth911.com  to find stores in your area or check the list below. Make sure you check directly with the store before you go; not all stores in regional or nationwide chains may be equipped to recycle. EPA is working with retailers to expand recycling and disposal options.

“Find out about mail-back services. Some bulb manufacturers and other organizations sell pre-labeled recycling kits that allow you to mail used bulbs to recycling centers. The cost of each kit includes shipping charges to the recycling center. You fill up a kit with old bulbs, seal it, and bring it to the post office or leave for your postal carrier.  Websites that provide more information about mail-back services.

  Be double good! Save energy by using an energy-efficient CFL.  Then act responsibly by recycling burned-out CFLs.



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