How to Dispose of Fluorescent Ballasts


Careless disposal of that fluorescent ballast may leach harmful chemicals into the environment or net you a fine for crossing your town's policy on hazardous waste disposal. Depending on the year of manufacture, ballasts can contain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) or DEHP, another chemical. Disposing of the ballast is not difficult but requires initial research to find out the best method for your community.

  • Find out whether your fluorescent ballast contains hazardous materials like PCBs, which were common in fluorescent ballasts through 1979. General Electric recommends checking with the ballast's manufacturer and offers a date of manufacture coding chart so its customers can check old General Electric models.

  • Contact your town's department of public works to find out their policy on fluorescent ballast disposal. Some towns may limit the disposal in landfills or restrict it to certain types of fluorescent ballasts. If you know your ballast contains PCBs, let the town official know this.

  • Dispose of the ballast using the instructions given for your town. You may need to drive the ballast to a landfill of hazardous waste collection site, hold onto the ballast until a hazardous materials collection day or dispose of it with household trash, depending on your community's policy.

  • Find a lamp recycler near you who will take the old ballast using Lamp Recycle, if your town will nor allow you to dispose of the ballast (see Resources). Then take the ballast to that recycler to dispose of it.

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  • Photo Credit Fluorescent overhead lamp in office image by Alexey Kuznetsov from
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