What do you do when your light bulbs burn out? Different types of light bulbs require different disposal methods to keep your family, and the planet, safe and healthy. Check out our light bulb disposal guide for information on how you should dispose of or recycle the various bulb types you may have around the house.
The old, incandescent light bulbs are on their way out, being replaced by more efficient alternatives. These traditional bulbs are either a vacuum, or have been filled with an inert gas to avoid chemical reactions. Since the materials which make up these bulbs are nontoxic, it is ok to dispose of them with your garbage. Many areas do not accept incandescent light bulbs for recycling, but check with your local provider to make sure. Incandescent bulbs are fragile and can break in your garbage container; avoid accidents by disposing of your incandescent bulbs inside used packaging or another item which can contain the glass if it breaks.
Halogen light bulbs are typically used as flood lights, and can be found outdoors as well as inside. They contain halogen gas inside the tube which holds their filament. Like incandescent bulbs, recycling programs do not commonly accept halogen bulbs. Halogen bulbs do not contain toxic materials, so it is safe to throw them out with your household garbage if you cannot find a recycling solution.
Unlike incandescent and halogen light bulbs, CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) contain small amounts of mercury. Because of the mercury they contain, CFLs should be recycled for safe light bulb disposal. Call your local recycling provider to inquire about a CFL disposal service. Many towns may also have specified drop-offs or hold recycling events for these products. If you cannot find a light bulb disposal option locally, check online for mail-in programs. In order to protect your family and the environment from exposure to mercury, do not throw CFL light bulbs in the garbage; some states have even made it illegal to do so!
LED light bulbs contain no dangerous chemicals, allowing you to dispose of them in the same manner as incandescent bulbs and halogen bulbs. Before you toss your old LED bulbs in the trash, consider recycling. Most of the LED bulbs available today are made of materials which can be recycled. Call your recycling provider to confirm you can include LED bulbs with your household’s recycling, or look online for an LED light bulb disposal recycling drop-off.
Fluorescent light bulbs contain mercury. These long, tubular light bulbs are often found in overhead fixtures in the garage or kitchen at home, and around the office. Follow the same guidelines for disposing of these bulbs as for CFL light bulb disposal.
Take care of your family and our environment; don’t risk exposure to toxic chemicals by throwing all bulbs out with your trash. Proper light bulb disposal not only protects everyone from dangerous chemicals, but also allows for old, burnt-out bulbs to gain new life through recycling. If you have any questions about disposing of the light bulbs around your home or business, call Frye Electric. We’d be happy to provide light bulb disposal tips as well as advice on which bulbs to use for maximum efficiency.