There are many convenient recycling options for fluorescent bulbs and lamps. Don't place fluorescent bulbs in your household recycling or garbage bins.
- Home Depot and Lowes Hardware stores accept compact fluorescent light bulbs for free. Look for the recycling kiosk near the Customer Service desk.
- The retailers listed in the recycling and disposal sites list accept bulbs for recycling. Before bringing to a retailer, ask about fees and hours.
- County household hazardous waste drop-off sites collect fluorescent and HID bulbs for recycling.
- Your city or township also may collect fluorescent bulbs for recycling on its recycling drop-off days.
- Ask the retailer where you purchased your bulbs if the store has a "take back" program to accept bulbs for recycling.
Remember, it's okay to throw out ordinary incandescent light bulbs, LED and halogen bulbs because they don't contain mercury. If in doubt about what to throw, contact your county.
Store and Transport
Exercise care when handling and transporting fluorescent and HID light bulbs to avoid breakage; don't drop or handle them roughly.
Store fluorescent and HID light bulbs in their original packaging somewhere inaccessible to children and pets. If the original packaging is not available, wrap the bulb in newspaper or bubble wrap and place it in a box. Don't use tape on the bulb; it makes recycling more difficult.
Don't break or crush fluorescent or HID light bulbs—you could be exposed to mercury.
Because of the mercury in fluorescent light bulbs, certain clean-up instructions should be followed to lessen your exposure to mercury. If you break a fluorescent bulb, follow these instructions:
- Keep people and pets out of the room.
- Open the windows and exterior doors to vent the mercury vapor to the outside for about 15 minutes before you clean up.
- Shut off the central forced air heating/air-conditioning system, if you have one. This way mercury vapor doesn’t end up in other rooms through air vents.
- Put on rubber gloves and carefully pick up the fragments, glass shards and any powder with sticky tape.
- Place all the pieces and used clean-up materials in a plastic bag and seal it. Place outside until it can be dealt with. Be sure to wash your hands after clean up.
- Vacuuming is not recommended unless broken glass remains after all other cleanup steps have been taken. Vacuuming could spread mercury-containing powder or mercury vapor.
- Call your county household hazardous waste facility for disposal instructions.
If you break more than two fluorescent bulbs or if you are unsure what to do, call the Minnesota Duty Officer at 1-800-422-0798 any time, day or night.