How to Dispose of Mercury Light Bulbs

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Mercury light bulbs, fluorescent and high-intensity discharge bulbs are energy-efficient, inexpensive and used in a variety of residential, commercial and industrial situations including schools, homes, floodlights and parking lots. Both types of bulbs are long lasting, but they do burn out. You must properly dispose of these mercury-containing light bulbs to keep the mercury from leaking into the soil and damaging the environment.

Things You'll Need

  • Gloves
  • Trash bag
  • Tape
  • Remove the burned out mercury-containing bulb from the light fixture carefully. Wear gloves and don't jar or bump the bulb---it may break.

  • Place the bulb in a trash bag, close the bag and secure it with some tape.

  • Visit your local Home Depot store and give the burned out mercury-containing bulb to one of the store's CFL bulb recycling representatives. (Ask the clerk at the "Customer Service" desk.) The Home Depot has a recycling program that accepts mercury-containing light bulbs. There is no charge for the service, and it is available at Home Depots throughout the U.S.

  • Visit your local Ikea store, and give the burned out bulb to the store's CFL bulb recycling representative if a Home Depot is not in your area. Ikea also has a recycling program that accepts your mercury-containing light bulbs. The recycling service is free and available at Ikea stores throughout the U.S.

  • Visit your local Orchard Supply store if you live in California and there is not a Home Depot or Ikea in your area. The service is free.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be extremely careful when handling the mercury-containing bulbs---you don't want to break one. If a bulb does break, clean up the glass carefully, and place the glass fragments in a trash bag. Take the broken glass to one of the recycling centers above.

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