If you’ve upgraded your home’s light bulbs to compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) or light-emitting diode bulbs (LEDs), you already know you’re saving energy and money. However, you may be discovering that you need to recycle these new light bulbs differently—you can’t just throw them in the trash.
Why recycle CFLs?
All compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), including ENERGY STAR® qualified bulbs, currently contain a small amount of mercury-about 5 milligrams (mg) per bulb. That's less than the mercury in your average watch battery, and just enough to cover the tip of a ballpoint pen. Though it's an extremely small amount of mercury, these bulbs still need to be recycled properly.
Where can I recycle my CFLs?
Please contact your local waste management company for information about recycling CFLs. To dispose of a broken bulb we offer information on our Broken CFL Disposal Fact Sheet [PDF]
Why recycle LEDs?
You don’t have to worry about mercury with LEDs, but they do contain nickel, some lead, and even trace amounts of arsenic. When used properly, these lights are risk-free, but they have significant health hazards when they’re left in a landfill.
Where can I recycle my LEDs?
More than 95 percent of an LED bulb is recyclable; we suggest calling your county or city recycling department to learn its policies for collecting and recycling. Earth911 provides a free search tool to find recycling solutions near you.