Residential Lighting: Where to Recycle

Don’t put Fluorescent Lamps in the trash.

Recycle Lamps

To find the Lamp-recycling centers near your address.

   *Note: Home Depot collects CFLs only.While lamps are not a major source of mercury pollution, the improper disposal of large numbers of lamps does add to mercury in the environment. Burning hazardous wastes or incineration of disposed materials can also release mercury into the environment. The largest contributor to man-made mercury emissions, comprising approximately 40% of the total, is fossil-fuel burning power plants. The best way to prevent the release of mercury from lighting is to recycle lamps and not dispose of them in the solid waste stream. Recycling lamps captures the mercury, allowing it to be reused. Convenient lamp recycling options for retail consumers are not yet widespread in all areas, but the situation is rapidly improving. Recycling mechanisms are developing independently in various regions and business sectors. Many local governments collect lamps as part of their hazardous waste collection programs. Examples of commercial/retail take-back include the following:

  • In June, 2008, the Home Depot Corp. launched a national in-store, consumer CFL recycling program at all Home Depot locations. The service is free and applies to all brands of CFLs.
  • Lowe’s Companies Inc., another leading home improvement showroom store, also accepts CFLs at most of its locations.
  • IKEA furniture stores recycle CFLs at no cost at their store locations.
  • All Orchard Supply Hardware stores in California are now taking back residential end-of-life CFL and fluorescent tubes.
  • Smaller, more localized outlets such as Ace Hardware, TrueValue, Menards, Orchard Supply, and Aubuchon Hardware are offering CFL recycling services, usually at no cost, either on their own or as part of utility-run programs (see below).
  • Other retailers, such as Wal-Mart and Target sometimes run one-day events and are testing other collection options.
  • Utility-run collection programs exist throughout or in parts of Maine, Vermont, Wisconsin, Illinois, Washington, Oregon, Florida, California and Minnesota. Operated by utilities or efficiency partnerships, these programs pay for the CFL recycling and recruit local retailers to offer collection. Funding for the programs stems from the ratepayer base, either through general revenues or through special project set-asides.