11 Mar Recycling Odd Items: Light Bulbs
I realize that it can be difficult to remember what you can and cannot recycle. In this blog post, I’ll focus on light bulbs – not all of which can be recycled.
First, I always recommend checking with your county to see if certain lights can be recycled in your curbside bins or need to be thrown in the trash, or if you must bring them into recycling centers for proper disposal. Here’s a general breakdown by type:
Incandescent: These bulbs are less popular now, as they do not last as long as LED or Fluorescent light bulbs. These bulbs can be throw in the trash.
Light Emitting Diode (LEDs): These do contain heavy metals, but they are not toxic. LEDs will last a lot longer than incandescents or CFLs, but they also cost more (although the price is coming down). In fact, many Christmas lights are now LEDs. These bulbs can be thrown in the trash, or recycled through a third party facility (like a hardware store).
Compact Fluorescent (CFLs): There are a few types, the compacts and then the larger fluorescent tubes. These contain mercury (a toxic substance) so they need to treated as Hazardous Waste and taken to your local Hazardous Waste facility. Many communities are starting to offer pick-ups of household hazardous waste by appointment. They just started offering this in my county (San Mateo), which I was very pleased to learn.
Many hardware stores will accept LED or CFL light bulbs for recycling. Earth911 has a great recycle search feature for your area.