Recycle Fluorescent Light Bulbs

From the Will County Residential Recycling Guide

Fluorescent Light Bulb Recycling

All types of fluorescent light bulbs contain mercury and should not be broken or placed in the regular garbage. Will County provides several 1-day Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Collections annually and sponsors a permanent HHW collection site. Several Ace Hardware stores and IKEA accept burnt out Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs) at no charge for recycling.

Broken Compact Fluorescent Light Clean-Up Instructions

The highly efficient Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs) contain a small amount of mercury. According to the EPA, 1 CFL contains a 100 times less mercury than is found in a single dental amalgam filling or old-style glass thermometer. However, even that very tiny amount of mercury should be considered when its time to dispose of the bulb. If a CFL does break, the broken glass is probably the biggest concern. However, to keep mercury vapor exposure at a minimum, take these precautions:

  • Keep children and pets away from the immediate area.
  • Open windows and ventilate the area for at least 15 minutes.
  • Put on disposable gloves.
  • Use duct tape or another adhesive material to pick up debris.
  • Scoop materials with a stiff sheet of paper or piece of cardboard.
  • Finish by cleaning the area with a damp paper towel, and disposing of everything in a plastic bag, placed in an outside garbage can.

Important: Never use a vacuum. It may disperse mercury vapor and leave particles trapped inside the cleaner bag.