How to dispose of dead light bulbs

Updated March 23, 2017

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, it is best to recycle used CFL light bulbs, or any other bulbs that may potentially contain mercury. By recycling these bulbs, you can do your part to reduce the amount of mercury that is released into the environment. Because light bulbs that end up in dumpsters or land fills are often broken, the only way to prevent the release of toxic chemicals is to recycle. Additionally, many parts of the light bulb, such as the glass and metal, can be recycled and reused.

Contact your local waste collection agency to find out if your state requires you to recycle CFLs and other light bulbs that may contain mercury. Ask for guidelines for recycling light bulbs in your area. Ask the agency if it can direct you to a local drop-off site for hazardous household waste. Find out if kerbside pickup or some other collection process is offered. Make note of any fees that may be charged for these services, although they are usually offered free of charge.

Contact contract supply retailers in your area, both locally owned and regional or national chains. Inquire about any light bulb recycling programs they may offer in their stores. Browse the website of the light bulb manufacturer or call the company number that is provided on the bulb packaging. In some cases, companies offer recycling kits that allow you to box up used bulbs and ship them back to the manufacturer.

Discard of used light bulbs carefully if your state does not require them to be recycled and you choose not to recycle them. Designate a low-traffic in area in your home, such as the garage, basement or a storage closet, where you can store the dead bulbs. Place the used light bulbs in a plastic bag, which should then be placed into another plastic bag and sealed. Be sure the bulbs are not stored near large objects that may fall and cause the light bulbs to break. Consider hanging a hook on the wall or the back of a door to hang the bag on. Place in a trash bin, when appropriate.

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About the Author

Delialah Falcon has been writing professionally for eight years. With extensive experience in all aspects of both technical and creative writing, Falcon specializes in content writing, research, proofreading/editing and health/medical journalism. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in English from Dowling College and a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in holistic nutrition from Clayton College of Natural Health.