Take Your Old CFL Bulbs To A Lamp Recycling Center

You may not realize you shouldn't dispose of certain types of lamps and bulbs in your regular trash. These are bulbs that contain mercury, and they should be recycled instead. You can't put them in your recycling container though. Instead, you need to find a drop-off center or a company that accepts them by mail. Here are a few things to know about lamp recycling.

What Lamps And Bulbs Should Be Recycled 

Many mercury-containing lamps are used in commercial and industrial settings. However, you probably have some of the lights around your house too. Some lights that might contain mercury in your home are bug zappers, tanning lights, fluorescent light tubes, and black lights. The most common type of mercury light in your home is probably the CFL light bulbs. You may have switched to CFL bulbs when incandescent bulbs were phased out.

Your local area may require lamp recycling, but even if they don't, you shouldn't throw CFL bulbs in the trash. You should also take care of these bulbs when they're stored in your home, so you don't break them. Leave them in their protective packaging until they're ready for use and save the packaging for transporting them to the recycling center later.

Why Lamp Recycling Is Necessary

Lamp recycling keeps mercury out of landfills and out of the groundwater supply. Although the amount in a single bulb might be small, the total amount is significant when you consider all the bulbs thrown into the dump over the course of a year. The mercury contaminates the soil, is released into the air, and enters the food chain. It's a toxic substance that's dangerous to animals and people. Recycling protects the planet from the dangers of mercury exposure.

How To Recycle Your Mercury Bulbs

Find your local lamp recycling location. These can often be found in chain hardware stores or recycling centers. Your city may have a lamp recycling center as well. If there isn't a local place that's convenient, then try a mail-back service. To use one of these, you buy a return kit that has safety packaging for the bulbs. With the bulbs protected in the packaging, they can be sent through the regular mail.

Lamp recycling efforts aren't the same across the country. It may be illegal to throw CFL bulbs in the trash in some states but not others. Be sure you know your local laws and the locations of your local lamp recycling center, so you stay in compliance and help protect the planet at the same time.