Expert Advice

How do I recycle compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs)?

How do I recycle compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs)?
Pin it

If your CFL burns out, take it to a home improvement store— like Home Depot, IKEA, or Ace Hardware—for recycling. Find these and other recycling centers at earth911.org, or contact your local municipal solid waste agency.

Never discard. The downside to CFLs, which are terrific energy savers, is that they contain small amounts of mercury, about 4 milligrams. (Traditional thermometers have about 500 mg.) Even at such low doses, mercury is a dangerous neurotoxin and is bad for you and the environment. Do not toss out old CFLs with your regular waste.

Make the switch. CFLs conserve energy and fight global warming. If every American home replaced one light bulb with a CFL, the United States would save enough power to light more than three million homes for a year and reduce greenhouse gases equal to the emissions of nearly 800,000 cars. So every time a regular bulb burns out at home, replace it with a CFL.
—Annie B. Bond, green living expert and the author of Home Enlightenment (Rodale, 2008)