Burned-out light bulbs and other lighting products must be disposed of properly to prevent the release of mercury and other harmful materials into the environment. Although light bulbs are encased in glass, they should not be recycled in regular household or office recycling bins. Certain light bulbs and lamps contain dangerous materials that must be handled and disposed of properly. Light bulbs that contain mercury or other toxic elements, such as CFLs, generally need to be recycled as hazardous waste, while other light bulbs, such as incandescent bulbs, can usually be disposed of in the regular trash.
Review the following resources to learn more about recycling light bulbs and other lighting products:
CFL Recycling and Disposal: The American Lighting Association provides information about compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) recycling and disposal and what to do if a fluorescent light bulb breaks.
Why Recycle?: Learn why recycling old light bulbs and lighting products is important for the environment and how you can help prevent the release of mercury into the atmosphere.
Recycling Fluorescent Bulbs/Lamps: This guide to recycling fluorescent bulbs and lamps covers the benefits of recycling, how bulbs are recycled today, and how you can get started recycling properly by following basic disposal guidelines.
FAQ - CFLs and Mercury: Energy Star offers a fact sheet of frequently asked questions pertaining to compact fluorescent bulbs and how to dispose of these lighting products to prevent mercury pollution. (PDF)
CFLs vs. LEDs - The Better Bulbs: Compare CFL and LED bulbs, the pros and cons of each type of bulb, and how you should properly dispose of incandescent, LED, and CFL bulbs.
Light Bulb and Mercury Recycling: The Association of Lighting and Mercury Recyclers provide information on laws and regulations regarding light bulb and mercury recycling.
What to Do with Light Bulbs: Learn how and where you can recycle or dispose of old light bulbs.
Mercury-Containing Light Bulbs: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides a list of frequently asked questions about regulations that affect the management and disposal of mercury-containing light bulbs and lamps.
CFLs: Get important answers on how to recycle CFL bulbs, including if they're dangerous, how long they last, and what should be done if a CFL burns out.
How to Recycle Light Bulbs: Information on how to recycle light bulbs and how you can minimize recycling issues by switching to energy-efficient lighting.
Importance of Recycling: Learn why it's so important to recycle bulbs, lamps, and other lighting products that may contain mercury, lead, PCBs, and other harmful materials.
Fluorescent Light Bulbs: This light bulb recycling fact sheet educates consumers on how to save money and protect the environment by using fluorescent bulbs instead of incandescent bulbs. (PDF)
Light Bulb Waste - Reduce and Recycle: Learn about the numerous benefits of using compact fluorescent lamps and why it's important to recycle them.
How to Recycle Fluorescent Lamps: Basic guide on how to recycle fluorescent lamps used in businesses, households, and where you work.
Recycling Your Light Bulbs: Information on recycling and the proper disposal of light bulbs and what types of light bulbs you should take extra care with.
Handling Mercury: Understand the risks associated with mercury found in light bulbs and how to handle and properly recycle mercury-containing bulbs.
Light Bulbs: This brief text provides information on how to recycle or discard of incandescent and compact fluorescent light bulbs.
Disposable of Lamps Containing Mercury: Tips on how to identify bulbs that contain mercury, what types of bulbs normally contain mercury, and how to handle and recycle these bulbs.
Fluorescent Lamp Recycling: Information on why fluorescent lights are a good choice for consumers looking to save money and protect the environment and how to handle and dispose of these lighting products safely.
How to Dispose of Light Bulbs: Lighting guide on how to dispose of light bulbs the right way and how to replace your light bulbs with more energy-efficient bulbs.
Fluorescent Bulbs: Learn why you should use fluorescents, what to do if a bulb breaks, and how to recycle and dispose of fluorescent bulbs.
Disposing and Recycling Light Bulbs: Brief article about recycling old light bulbs and what you can do to dispose of your old bulbs.
Fluorescent Light Bulbs - Use Them, Recycle Them: Tips on how to save money by making the switch to fluorescent bulbs and where you can recycle old fluorescent lighting products.
Recycling Light Bulbs: Environmental impacts and legal requirements regarding the recycling of light bulbs containing mercury.
How to: Recycling Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs: Article on how to recycle energy-efficient light bulbs, including CFL and LED bulbs.
Recycling LEDs Becomes a Pressing Issue: Learn about the importance of recycling LEDs, regulations surrounding LED recycling, and advantages of LED lights over incandescent light bulbs.
Disposal of Fluorescent Lamps and Mercury: Guide to fluorescent lamps and how to use and dispose of them wisely to prevent the release of mercury.
Fluorescent Bulbs and Tubes: Frequently asked questions about fluorescent bulbs and tubes, how to recycle them, and a brief overview of the recycling process.
Fluorescent Light Tubes: Handling instructions for fluorescent light tubes, what to do if a bulb breaks, and the best way to dispose of these light tubes.
How to Dispose of a Broken Fluorescent Light Bulb: Tips on how to clean up and dispose of a broken fluorescent light bulb.