How To Dispose Of Old Light Bulbs

Light bulbs are considered hazardous materials and need to be disposed with care. Most people will simply throw them away in their trash not realizing the potential dangers associated with light bulbs. The majority of light bulbs have a certain extent of mercury and should be disposed properly to minimize environmental risks.

Recycling old or broken light bulbs

The majority of light bulbs contain mercury and require special disposal. It’s very common for light bulbs to have at least a minimal level of mercury despite recent reduction by manufacturers. Common light bulbs that contain mercury include fluorescent light bulbs. Throwing light bulbs away in your regular trash poses the risk to release mercury into the environment.

To prevent this from happening, you should take light bulbs to recycling facilities as nearly all parts can be recycled.

light bulbs

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How are light bulbs reused?

The different parts of the light bulb are separated at recycling facilities. It is determined whether or not they are able to be recycled but they are reused whenever possible.

New bulbs can re-use the powder from low energy light bulbs. Fibreglass utilizes the bulb glass and some metal parts. Even the hazardous mercury can be recycled and  used to manufacture other bulbs.

Alternatives to Recycling

If you absolutely cannot recycle, do not have recycling facility close to you, or cannot find a creative use for old light bulbs the best way to dispose of them is to wrap them in a brown paper bag and to throw them away. By placing them in a paper bag before throwing them away, you can prevent tears in your garbage bag. If it is accidentally crushed, the pieces won’t tear the garbage bag.

Additional Tips and Other Ideas

To make recycling light bulbs and other hazardous waste materials easier for you, create a trash management system that will allow you to sort items as you go. Light bulbs can be included in the same bin as batteries and other electronic items.

Research a recycling facility closest to you to make the process as simple as possible. The most convenient recycling centre may be on the route to and from work making it an easy stop for you without too much inconvenience.

Donate light bulbs to an arts and crafts centre. There are crafters that make imaginative designs using burnt out light bulbs. You never know when your trash could be someone else’s treasure.

Better yet, make your own creative art project with old light bulbs! Paint them to create unique holiday ornaments or decorations.

Doing your part to conserve the environment is not difficult. Follow these suggestions and you’ll be doing a great service to yourself and your surroundings.

Alex Jimenez is an environmentally aware home and fashion blogger who writes here for GLS bulb retailer EU Lights

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