When a light bulb dies do you ever ask yourself “Where do I dispose of this?”
Looking at a lightbulb you can see it is composed of many recyclable materials: glass, metal etc, so do you put it in the recycling bin? Almost, but not quite!
The best place to put an expired light bulb (or fixture) is at a lightbulb recycling facility, and it’s easier than you’d think.
In this post we will talk about how to properly recycle your bulbs and fixtures.
Why should I properly dispose of my bulbs and fixtures?
Did you know many types of light bulbs (including fluorescent tubes and energy-saving bulbs) contain small amounts of mercury? This amount is quite small so don’t be worried if one bulb breaks in your home! However, you can imagine that small amount of mercury adds up when you think of the millions of bulbs in the landfill. In other words, it is important that these items are disposed of correctly and carefully. When these items are recycled, they help divert harmful waste from the environment.
There are other benefits to recycling your old bulbs and fixtures! Many of these items contain reusable material including:
- And Phosphor powder
More reusable material = less raw material we need to produce. If we take these small steps to reuse material we help create a more sustainable planet and a better future.
A Note about safety
Always handle glass with care, if the glass is broken make sure to wear thick gloves when handling it and ensure you are wearing closed toe shoes. Many bulbs contain mercury so it’s good to leave the room for about 15 minutes after a bulb breaks before cleaning it up
Where can I take my old light fixtures/bulbs?
Product Care Recycling makes it easy to find a recycling location near you, follow these steps to find your recycling location:
- Visit the Product Care Recycling location finder Here
- Type in your location
- Search for a recycler that fits your needs!
You will notice different recyclers have different items they accept, make sure you pick one that accepts bulbs and/or fixtures if that’s what you are looking to recycle .
Recycling isn’t limited to light fixtures and bulbs, here are some other items you can recycle using the Product Care recycling location finder:
- CO2 detectors & fire detectors
- And hazardous waste
How much does it cost?
Product Care will recycle your bulbs and fixtures (Only in British Columbia) free of charge!
Are there any rules or limitations?
Make sure you educate yourself on what you can and can’t bring before you head to the recycler
Keep in mind, each recycling service might have their own rules in place, make sure you check in about what limitations they have before you go!
Residential vs commercial amounts:
Most recyclers are equipped to accept residential amount of bulbs and tubes if you exceed the residential amount then you qualify for the commercial amount.
- Residential amounts: limited up to 16 bulbs, up to 16 tubes, and up to 5 light fixtures, (check in if you have more than 5 fixtures)
- Commercial amount: between 16 bulbs and one pallet of lights, up to 5 light fixtures (check in if you have more than 5 fixtures)
Have more than a pallet? You could qualify for a free pickup service
What types of lighting products are accepted?
These types of lights and fixtures are accepted at many recycling locations
- Incandescent & halogen bulbs
- Light emitting diodes (LEDs)
- Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs)
- Fluorescent tubes
- UV and germicidal bulbs and lamps
- Ultra high performance lamps (UHP)
- Bike lights
- Ceiling fixtures & Chandeliers
- Floor lights
- String lights
- Outdoor light fixtures
- Security lighting
- Recessed lights
- Desk lamps
What types of lighting products are not accepted?
Make sure to familiarize yourself with the full list of fixtures and bulbs that are not accepted here (scroll to the bottom)
Some items include:
- Aquarium equipment
- Strobe lights
- Lava lamps
- Light up apparel
- Black light equipment
- Auto fixtures
- Laser products (including laser pointers)
- Propane & gas powered light products
Unsure if your item is accepted? Call your recycler! They will fill you in on everything you need to know
In conclusion, when we recycle our lights we are ensuring safe disposal of the harmful materials and efficient re-use of the recyclable materials.
It’s free, it’s easy, and it’s great for the environment.