Easy Recycling of Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs

Sheryl CanterThis post is by Sheryl Canter, an online writer and editorial manager at Environmental Defense Fund.

Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) use 75 percent less electricity than incandescent light bulbs for the same amount of light. (For why, see Bill’s post "Why Switch to Compact Fluorescents".) But some people fear CFLs because of the tiny amount of mercury they contain. The risk from a broken CFL is extremely small, but CFLs should be disposed of properly so landfills aren’t polluted. Sealing used bulbs in plastic bags before placing them in the trash can slow the release of mercury if the bulb breaks. But recycling is ideal.

The problem, until now, has been that recycling CFLs was inconvenient for post people. That’s about to change, thanks to Home Depot. The New York Times reported this week that Home Depot will offer CFL recycling at all of its nearly 2000 U.S. stores. That puts 75 percent of Americans within 10 miles of a CFL recycling location.

If you’re not part of that 75 percent, you still have options. Ikea stores provide CFL recycling bins, as well. Or visit Earth 911 or Lamp Recycle to look for a recycling location near you.

Need help choosing the right CFL? Visit our online guide, "How to Pick a Better Bulb".

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One Comment

  1. kenzrw
    Posted June 26, 2008 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    Home Depot has been accepting those long, tubular flourescent lights for many years and I’m glad they are now also accepting the smaller CFLs.

    CFL’s don’t really pose a problem today, but in 5 years, when they start failing, landfills will fill up with them and that could be a major mercury pollution problem, so it’s great that Home Depot is starting this recycling program so soon.