How to Recycle Light Bulbs
When it comes to throwing away used light bulbs, people almost never consider the safe, correct way to do so. While nearly every region and state has its own disposal methods, when it comes to certain light bulbs, you can’t just throw them in the trash. If you want to learn how to recycle light bulbs, read this blog about safe use and disposal!
If you’re reading this blog, we know that you’re probably a DIY or home designer type who regularly changes and upgrades their fixtures. You probably have a lot of experience choosing stylish bulbs, and you install them on your own. We’d like to remind you of a few of the top safety tips for changing out your bulbs before we talk about how to recycle those light bulbs.
- Never change a hot bulb.
- Don’t change a bulb with your bare hands. Use gloves or a towel.
- Avoid overlamping when you match bulb and lamp wattage specifications.
- Check for fixture socket and bulb compatibility.
- Install GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) to minimize electrical shock accidents.
- Turn off or disconnect all wiring before starting work — even the breaker should be off!
- Use a cover over bulbs exposed to heat to prevent breakage, like those over stoves.
Light Bulb Recycling | How-To
There are many reasons you should learn how to recycle your light bulbs instead of just throwing them in the trash. Different types of light bulbs contain small amounts of toxic materials that shouldn’t be released into the environment, like mercury. Proper recycling can prevent environmental contamination and allows for reuse of the glass and metals that make up the bulb. When it comes to fluorescent bulbs, specifically, nearly every single component can be recycled!
Recycling in Your Area
Your best resource when learning how to recycle light bulbs is https://search.earth911.com/. This website can show you drop-off locations in your county, collection schedules for your neighborhood, and specific disposal instructions for your area. Some states have even more stringent requirements than the EPA, so it’s always a good idea to check what your local agency requests.
There are some general rules when it comes to collection agencies around the nation, including:
- Many collection services are free, but some may charge you a small fee.
- The collection agency may also accept cleaning supplies, batteries, paint, and pesticides
- There are resident-only collections, but some programs may include businesses.
- Collection agency schedule may only stop in your location once or twice a year, so you’ll have to hold onto your light bulbs until then.
Usually, the easiest thing to do is find your nearest hardware store and ask if they accept light bulbs for recycling.
How to Safely Dispose of Light Bulbs
There are many different types of light bulbs available on the market. Some are designed to be energy efficient, others are made just to look pretty, and still, others have very particular colors and lumen outputs. Whatever type of bulb you choose, you should learn about disposing your bulbs properly.
These are among the most common light bulbs in America and can be disposed of with your normal household waste. They can’t typically be recycled with regular glass because it’s too expensive.
Compact Fluorescent Bulbs
These energy-saving bulbs should never go in the trash bin! There is no legislation to stop you, but the mercury release is detrimental to the environment. We recommend checking your local disposal agency for pickup times or recycling them according to the box. Some retailers will take the bulbs back and recycle them for you!
Another type of bulb that cannot be recycled, you can throw them out with the rest of your household waste. There’s no reason to put them in the recycle bin, as the fine wires are very difficult to separate from the bulb glass.
How to recycle LED light bulbs? You don’t! These are also trash-worthy materials that aren’t typically recycled. LED bulbs are considered green and energy-efficient because of their longevity — not their recyclability.
Guides at Color Cord Company
Whether it’s learning how to dispose of light bulbs or recycle them, or how to wire your newest light fixture, Color Cord Company is always happy to help! Check out our blog for more resources, or browse our store today if you’re planning a light fixture upgrade in your home or commercial space!