HHW: Fluorescent Bulbs

Fluorescent Bulbs

Compact Fluorescent Bulb (CFL) Recycling Locations and Programs

Many people are now switching to CFLs to save energy and reduce their carbon footprint and electric bills. Most poeple don’t think twice about tossing out a burnt out incandescent, but what to do with a CFL? CFLs contain a small amount of mercury and should therefore be recycled instead of thrown in the trash.

Now you can recycle those old, burnt out CFL bulbs at the Ionia County MSUE Extension Office (Ionia County Resource Recovery is located inside the MSUE office). We have a box next to the back door (Employee Entrance) where you can deposit your CFLs. Please double bag bulbs in ziploc baggies, one bulb per double bag. If you have any questions, please contact the office. The CFL recycling box is available at all hours.

Not sure what qualifies as a CFL? Check out this article by Lowe’s for a great reference guide.


Fluorescent Bulb Tips

  • Broken bulbs should be thrown in the trash, as the mercury vapors have already been released from the breakage. Wrap the glass shards in newspaper to prevent injury. Click here for clean up information.
  • Fluorescent bulb shapes include circular, U-shaped, compact (CFL), and tube (which include tanning booth, black light, full-spectrum, plant grow, and fish lamps). All contain mercury and should be recycled.
  • HID (High Intensity Discharge) bulbs, such as car headlights, mercury vapor lights, and metal halide bulbs should also be recycled.
  • All of the bulbs listed above, including CFLs, are accepted for free from RESIDENTS of Ionia County only at all of the Household Hazardous Waste collections and by appointment during open hours. Small Businesses that are considered a CESQG (Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Waste Generator) have the opportunity to recycle their bulbs through the program at cost. CESQGs must apply before an appointment can be made.
  • In addition to the 24/7 CFL box at the MSUE building, CFLs can be recycled at the following locations
    • Home Depot
    • Waste Management provides a mail-in recycling program for a fee. The “ThinkGreenFromHome” program costs about $1 per bulb.
    •  Sylvania offers a variety of containers for recycling CFLs by mail.  The Minipaks hold up to 15 CFLs for about $1 per bulb.
  • Note: Incandescent, halogen, and neon bulbs do NOT contain mercury and can be thrown in your regular trash. There are no locations nearby accepting these bulbs for recycling.
  • Note: Incandescent holiday string lights can be recycled by shipping them to a company in Jackson, MI. For details, visit their website at www.holidayleds.com

For more information…

EPA CFL Website

Energy Star CFL Website

Money Saving Tips

By Randal Smith
Accessed Friday, April 30, 2010, at 11:00 am ET
on www.aircycle.com

Few things are less thrilling than shopping for light bulbs. But today some companies are selling fluorescent lamps using less than completely forthright claims. Here are some facts from LightingDesignLab.com to keep in mind when you are faced with a hard sell for fluorescent lamps. Most of these tips are from the ANSI standards for fluorescent lamps. click here for the full article.

The Case for CFLs

Compact fluorescent light bulbs are safe, and they look great, too.

By Brendan I. Koerner
Posted Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2008, at 7:39 AM ET
on www.Slate.com in the Green Lantern section.

CFL use is spiraling upward.

I’m constantly being told that the simplest way to improve my green cred is to start using compact fluorescent lights. Yet some naysayers—like one of your Slate colleagues—argue that the environmental benefits of CFLs are negated by their mercury content. Who’s right?

Click here to find out…

Posted in Uncategorized