How To Recycle Fluorescent Tubes

Fluorescent lamps are commonly used among businesses and homes because the lamps utilize fluorescent tubes that can last upwards of 15,000 hours. That is the good news. The bad news is fluorescent tubes are classified as hazardous waste, as the electrical product contains mercury. This makes fluorescent tubes disposal important when it comes to electronic recycling safe practices. Flood lights, security lights, and street lamps are just a few of the types of lightning that use fluorescent lamps and tubes. And each of these fluorescent lamps/bulbs need to be properly disposed of whether that is through an e-waste recycling facility, universal waste handler, or hazardous waste disposal location. Here are some helpful tips for businesses and families looking to learn how to recycle fluorescent tubes.

Can I throw away fluorescent tubes?

In some states, it is illegal to throw away fluorescent tubes since the bulbs contain mercury. The reason is that when fluorescent tubes are mixed with regular household trash they will end up at local landfills, and the mercury from those fluorescent bulbs will leak into the Earth. This is dangerous because the toxic chemical can then make its way into groundwater where it will have negative health reactions among humans. Therefore, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggests that consumers and businesses property dispose of e-waste at electronic recycling facilities.

Recycling Fluorescent Tubes

How to Safely Dispose Fluorescent Tubes At Home

Families looking to properly dispose of fluorescent tubes can find a local electronic recycling facility or community e-waste event that offers free fluorescent tubes recycling. Another great resource is using the web by simply typing “fluorescent tubes recycling near me” in a search engine such as Google.

How to Safely Dispose Fluorescent Tubes At Work

Businesses use fluorescent tubes at a far greater rate than consumers, making it important that companies know how to recycle fluorescent tubes properly. That means already having an awareness of where a local electronic recycling facility near me is, and the understanding of how to properly prepare fluorescent tube recycling. Whether that is manually recycling fluorescent tubs by putting them in newspaper and transporting them to an e-waste location, or getting prepaid mailing containers specifically for fluorescent bulbs to be shipped to a universal waste handler.

How do you dispose of broken fluorescent tubes?

When packaging fluorescent tubes and lamps for electronic recycling it is important to not break them. Avoid taping the fluorescent tubes together, and try and place the lighting equipment in a box of some sort. However, if an accident happens and fluorescent tubes are broken then please use the following steps to properly dispose of broken fluorescent tubes:

  • Place any soft materials inside a sealed plastic bag 
  • Avoid spreading broken glass or mercury powder 
  • Wipe up mess with wet paper towel (including shoes) and place used paper towels into a sealed container (preferable a glass container)
  • Take broken fluorescent tubes and clean up items to local e-waste facility for more information

Why Recycle Fluorescent Tubes

Properly disposing of fluorescent bulbs and tubes is not as convenient as recycling plastics or cans, but the safe removal of these toxic electrical products is critical. The reason is because of the mercury contained in each fluorescent bulb that has the potential to be very hazardous if not disposed of the right way. In fact, many states have made it illegal for businesses and everyday folks to place lamps containing mercury in landfills.

Free e-waste disposal near me

Although light bulbs are not classified as electronic waste, fluorescent bulbs, CFLs and other high-intensity bulbs are known to contain the toxic chemical mercury. Therefore, responsible disposal of these types of bulbs is important when it comes to safe environmental friendly electronic recycling practices. So where can I recycle light bulbs? 

Home Depot Fluorescent Tube Recycling

One business that is currently offering free light bulb recycling is Home Depot. Unfortunately, they do not accept fluorescent tubes, but at all of its store locations, Home Depot will accept compact fluorescent lights (CFL) for proper electronic recycling. What’s even better is people can also pick up some more energy-efficient light bulbs while at the store!

*Incandescent light bulbs are not recyclable, but they are also non-toxic so throwing them in the trash is acceptable

Lowes Fluorescent Tube Recycling

Those looking to recycle fluorescent tubes at Lowes should contact the store near them directly as each location has a different policy when it comes to electronic recycling of bulbs and other e-waste.