The EPA recommends that consumers take advantage of available local options for recycling CFLs, fluorescent bulbs and other bulbs that contain mercury, and all other household hazardous wastes, rather than disposing of them in regular household trash. There are various Federal regulations a bout recycling requirements for businesses that can be found here.

According to the EPA, recycling compact fluorescent lamps is important for several reasons, including: 

  • Recycling prevents the release of mercury into the environment.  CFLs and other fluorescent bulbs often break when thrown into a dumpster, trash can or compactor, or when they end up in a landfill or incinerator. 
  • Other materials in the bulbs get reused.  Recycling CFLs and other fluorescent bulbs allow the reuse of the glass, metals and other materials that make up fluorescent lights. Virtually all components of a fluorescent bulb can be recycled.
  • Your area may prohibit disposal and/or require recycling.  Some states and local jurisdictions have more stringent regulations than U.S. EPA does, and may require that you recycle CFLs and other mercury-containing light bulbs. Visit to contact your local waste collection agency, which can tell you if such a requirement exists in your state or locality.  

Visit search.Earth911.comto find collection schedules in your area or drop-off locations if curbside collections are not available. Note that waste collection agencies:

  • Provide services that are usually free, though some may charge a small fee.
  • Sometimes collect household hazardous wastes only once or twice a year, so residents will have to hold on to their light bulbs until the collection 

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