Tuesday, June 05, 2007

How to dispose of compact fluorescent light bulbs

Updated information posted November 20, 2008

From our mailbag:
Do electric light bulbs and fluorescent tubes go into the
recycling bin?
Thanks for asking! No, the only glass we accept in our curbside blue bin recycling program is that used for bottles and jars.

To dispose of incandescent ("regular") light bulbs, please wrap them in paper, and place them into your regular household trash. (Why put otherwise recyclable paper into the trash? Recycling as much as possible is important, but your safety and the collection crew's safety is even more important. Wrapping the bulb in paper helps prevent injury by containing the glass shards if the bulb breaks.)

To dispose of your compact fluorescent light bulbs, please take them to our Household Hazardous Waste drop-off sites, if this is practical for you. (They contain a small amount of mercury.) If it is not practical, please wrap and put the compact fluorescent bulb into your regular household trash, as you would an incandescent bulb.

What if a bulb breaks? The US EPA website has clean-up instructions for broken compact fluorescent light bulbs.

To help your household be prepared, I've updated our "How to Recycle/Dispose of: Fluorescent light bulbs and tubes" page with this information.