How to Recycle Light Bulbs

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A simple household light bulb can be deceptively difficult to recycle. Some light bulbs feature filaments and other parts made of mercury, contributing to the inclusion of toxins in the environment. You should collect all of your light bulbs and recycle them.

Things You'll Need

  • Art supplies
  • Collect light bulbs from around your home over months to cut down on time spent on recycling. Create a storage bin for them out of box.

  • Work with your neighbors to develop a recycling program for light bulbs. You can distribute a notice to everyone in your neighborhood about drop-off times at your home. You can also choose to recycle other items for your community, maximizing your efforts.

  • Learn your company's approach to recycling light bulbs as you educate yourself on the best methods of disposal. Your company may have partnerships with office-supply companies and state-recycling agencies that can be used for personal recycling.

  • Use online-recycling programs to deal with a growing number of dead light bulbs in your home. Websites like LightBulbRecycling.com ship out postage-paid packages as well as information on shipping multiple bulbs (see Resources below).

  • Research recycling programs in your state for specialty items like light bulbs and office equipment. States concerned with the proper disposal of mercury work to collect light bulbs through recycling sites.

  • Visit websites for local conservation groups that conduct recycling drives in your community. You can sign up for newsletters and reminders for specific collection periods.

  • Use a glut of light bulbs in your home as ornaments for your Christmas tree. You can apply paint, glitter and other artistic supplies on a light bulb as a way to keep recyclable items out of the trash can.

  • Skip the problem of recycling light bulbs with energy-efficient lighting. Major retailers sell light bulbs that can last several years to cut down on the number of bulbs you need to recycle. You can invest in lighting fixtures and lamps that are designed to shut off automatically for additional savings.

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