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May 27, 2018  |  Login

Properly Recycle and Dispose of CFLs

Recycle used CFLs and properly dispose of broken CFLs to save yourself and the environment from mercury poisoning.

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Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) save tons of energy and money over regular incandescent bulbs, but they can still be a threat to the environment if they are not disposed of properly. CFLs contain between 1.4 and 4 mg of mercury, a highly toxic metal that leaches into the food chain from landfills and incinerators, which is where CFLs end up if you put them in the trash.

Every part of a CFL can, and should be, recycled. Check your state-specific waste guidelines to find out where you can recycle CFLs, or if there is a household hazardous waste program in your area. If there are no other options but the trash, make sure to seal each CFL inside two plastic bags. Make sure that your waste does not go to an incinerator, and if it does, look for disposal options in another location. Be a responsible consumer and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the day you buy a CFL to the day you recycle it.


Take Action / Next Steps
  • Find out how to deal with a broken CFL in your home.

Read more about CFLs on ecomii.


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1.Energy Star. “Frequently Asked Questions: Information on Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs) and Mercury.” [June 2008]. Available from: [21 July 2008].

2.US EPA. [25 June 2008]. Mercury-Containing Light Bulb (Lamp) Recycling. Available from: [21 July 2008].

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