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Upgrading your current lighting usually means that you no longer need the old lamp or light fixture that was in its place. So, what are you supposed to do when you no longer need your old source of lighting? Is it destined to go in your basement or attic collecting dust until the end of time or can you simply throw it in the trash? Neither one of these is a desirable option, with throwing it in the trash being the least so. Some lamps do contain hazardous materials, and it is absolutely necessary to follow special disposal procedures in order to keep the chemicals out of landfills. In this article, we take a look at how to correctly dispose of old lamps and light fixtures, so you can ensure you’re not potentially endangering the environment.

Can You Recycle Old Lamps or Light Fixtures?

While recycling your old lamp or light fixture is possible, it can certainly be difficult to do so. The materials that lamp bases are made of vary, and the fact that the bulb itself may contain hazardous materials makes the recycling process that much more difficult.

Susan Batten of How Stuff Works tells us why choosing to recycle your lamp can be a difficult task: 

“Recycling lamps can be tricky. Actually using a recycling facility for your old lamp will depend on what it’s made out of and what your local center is capable of handling. While most waste management facilities accept light bulbs, ceramic lamp bases are very difficult to recycle. Your local recycling group can better handle glass bases. Ceramic, even though it begins as an eco-friendly clay, is fired and glazed, making it hard to break down and reuse. Some pottery studios or smelting facilities can recycle ceramic, but it’s rare. Glass bases are a bit easier to recycle, since they’re made of a substance that most facilities are used to handling. Many recycling centers will only take glass lamps that have had the wiring stripped out first and then they’ll still need to be sorted by color.”

Reuse Them


If possible, reusing or donating your used lamps and light fixtures is the absolute best way to go. Whether this comes down to finding another purpose for them within your own home, giving them to a family member, or donating them to a charity, there are plenty of ways to reuse your old lighting source.

Recycle Nation explains why it’s best to reuse your old lamps or light fixtures if you can:

“Medium-sized and large communities should have at least one nonprofit organization that reuses and recycles building materials, including light fixtures. Habitat for Humanity has now opened ReStores in hundreds of communities across the country. These social enterprises raise money for the organization’s mission of building homes for people in need. They can also be a source of supplies for Habitat homes. There are also plenty of independent nonprofits that sell second-hand building supplies. BRING Recycling in Eugene, Oregon, EcoBuilding Bargains in Springfield, Massachusetts and Reclaim It Atlanta are just a few examples. Your favorite thrift store may be interested in old lamp shades. Sometimes people need them to replace lamp shades on light fixtures they already own. A second hand store that specializes in selling items for DIY projects may also be interested in lamp shades. Check with them to see if they accept them.”

Call Your Local Waste Collection Agency

If your lamp or light fixture is broken or you feel like for whatever reason no one is going to want to reuse it, you can always call your local waste collection agency in order to find out what to do with it. gives us one of their options on how to properly dispose of your old lamp or light fixture, especially if it’s broken:

“They usually provide free services, however, you may be charged some fee by other agencies. Regardless, the main concern is the service is readily available and you should dispose of your lamps through them. You should contact your local agency to know the dates they collect CFLs, lamps, and e-waste as most waste collection agencies provide their services only a few times in a year.”

We offer a wide variety of waste disposal options, including the disposal of old lamps and light fixtures, with services readily available online. Reach out to us to see what we can offer you.

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