When we moved into our house, one of the first things I did was replace all of the incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. It’s now been a little over five years, and they’re starting to burn out, which begs the question…
How should I dispose of old CFL bulbs?
A huge advantage of CFL bulbs is that they use roughly 20% as much energy as incandescent bulbs. They also last much longer than a typical incandescent bulb. The downside is that they contain a small amount of mercury, meaning that you can’t simply throw them in the trash. Rather, you should find a local CFL recycling center and drop your bulbs off there.
While some municipal recycling centers can handle hazardous items like CFLs, others can’t. The good news is that many retailers offer CFL recycling. Ikea was the first to offer this service on a large-scale, and Lowe’s and Home Depot have since started collecting old CFL bulbs. Many local hardware store also offer CFL disposal.
Interestingly, despite pushing CFLs as a green-friendly lighting solution, and having sold hundreds of millions of them, Walmart doesn’t have a systematic CFL recycling program in place. While they’ve held periodic recycling events, you can’t simply walk into your nearest store and drop off your old bulbs.
And now… I’m heading out to recycle a box of burned out CFL bulbs.