How to Dispose of Light Bulbs [5 Easy And Best Ways]

Wondering how to dispose of light bulbs? Replacing old lighting bulbs with smart light bulbs is a fantastic way to preserve energy. However, before you toss out your old light bulbs, you should be aware that they are frequently recyclable.

It’s not ideal for throwing away used light bulbs in the garbage because glass might shatter and rip the bag.

Damaged light bulbs can also emit gases like argon, nitrogen, or helium when broken. It is important to follow the correct steps to avoid harming the environment and yourself.

This blog post will discuss how to dispose of light bulbs safely and efficiently.

Light Bulbs
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Benefits of Recycling Light Bulbs

Recycling helps to conserve resources and energy. It reduces pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. It creates jobs in the recycling industry.

We may also ensure that old light bulbs are disposed of responsibly, another approach to prevent hazardous chemicals from entering the environment. CFLs contain mercury and other toxic metals that can be harmful if not recycled properly.

How to Dispose of Light Bulbs?

Here are 5 best ways to dispose of different light bulbs easily and safely:

1. Dispose of Incandescent Light Bulbs

Incandescent bulbs are not harmful to humans or the environment, so that they may be disposed of with your regular waste. You should avoid glass shards just as you would when discarding any other glass goods.

It might be a good idea to surround your old incandescent bulbs with plastic or other old packaging materials before placing them in a trash can.

2. Dispose of CFL Light Bulbs

According to the United States Department of Energy, compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) contain about 4 mg of mercury.

Although that is only a tiny amount of the mercury found in old-school thermometers, broken CFL bulbs can pollute the environment if they end up in landfills or waterways.

To safely remove and recycle your CFLs, go to a recycling facility. CFL bulbs may be recycled at home improvement stores like Lowes and Home Depot. Look for bins near the store entrance to drop off your old CFLs. is a website that includes return centers in cities all around the country where you can send your old CFLs with no trouble or cost.

3. Clean up and Dispose of Broken CFL Bulbs

If you break a CFL by mistake, don’t panic! Unless you roll around in the glass shards, you should be fine with just a few simple measures. Avoid the area and open a window or door to receive fresh air.

Leave the room for 15 minutes so the air may circulate, and turn off your HVAC system if it is on. To remove all of the broken glass, utilize cardboard, sticky tape, wet paper towels, or whatever else you have on hand. Vacuum or sweep are not options.

4. Dispose of Light Bulbs with Mercury

The bulbs you see in your home may contain various substances, including but not limited to mercury. Other light sources that include mercury inside include high-intensity discharge (HID) bulbs and metal halide bulbs.

High-pressure sodium (HPS) floodlights, work lights, streetlights, and parking lots use high-pressure sodium (HPS) bulbs. They range in quantity from 10 mg to 50 mg of mercury.

Electric signage often uses neon and argon lamps that work alongside vaporized mercury. These bulbs follow the same recycling guidance as CFLs, only more intensely considering their higher mercury content.

5. Dispose of LED Light Bulbs

LEDs are approximately 90 percent more efficient than incandescent bulbs. The electrical current goes through a microchip, which illuminates small LEDs with light-emitting diodes or LEDs.

LEDs are typically safe to toss in the trash since they do not contain hazardous chemicals. On the other hand, some elements in LED bulbs may be recycled.

So, if you’re wondering whether your LEDs can be recycled, contact your recycling firm to find out. Home Depot frequently accepts LED Christmas lights, and several sites like HolidayLEDs and other recycling facilities let you send them straight to them.


Now that you know how to dispose of light bulbs, you can help keep the environment clean and safe. Do your research before getting rid of any type of light bulb to ensure you’re doing it correctly. Thanks for reading!

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