How To Get Rid Of Old Light Bulbs

Light bulbs break and go out all the time, and if you’ve ever had to deal with changing one, chances are you probably took the old light bulb and threw it out with the rest of your trash. However, while this may be just fine to do for some types of light bulbs, others are meant to be recycled or handled a bit more carefully due to the impact they can have on both our health and the environment.

To ensure that you’re disposing of light bulbs correctly, we’ve outlined what you should do below – just find the type of light bulbs you have and you’ll be all set!

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Incandescent Light Bulbs
Although other types of lighting have become more popular lately, if you still have some incandescent bulbs at home, you should be okay with throwing them out as you would anything else – that’s because they aren’t known to contain any toxic materials. However, if the bulb blew out and isn’t broken, you’ll want to consider wrapping it up in either the original packaging or a protective, plastic bag first to prevent it from cracking or shattering into little pieces.

Like incandescent bulbs, LED lights aren’t known to contain chemicals that will pose harm to us or our environment, so you can ultimately dispose of them in the same way – with the rest of your trash. But, that doesn’t mean they can’t be recycled. In fact, most LED lights are made using materials that are all recyclable, so you may want to place them into the recycling bin rather than the trash can once they’ve served their purpose.

Halogen Light Bulbs
Similar to both of the above, halogen light bulbs can be disposed of with your everyday trash since they aren’t made with any toxic materials. Not to mention, recycling opportunities for halogen bulbs can be limited, so the trash may be your only option in some cases.

CFLs are to be handled much differently than incandescents, LEDs and halogens due to the fact that they contain mercury (a toxin). Depending on where you live, it may actually be illegal to place CFLs in your trash or recycling bin. For those of you on Long Island, check out some CFL guidelines here and read what the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has to say.

Just like CFLs, fluorescents contain mercury (you can even think of CFLs as compact versions of fluorescents), so they also require some careful planning when it comes to best practices for disposal. Ultimately, you’ll want to follow the same protocol for fluorescents as you would for CFLs.

Although tossing all kinds of light bulbs into your trash can seems like the easiest way to get things done, we hope you’ll remember that it’s not always the safest.

Still have questions about the proper disposal of light bulbs? Contact the electricians here at TFC Electric Inc. by calling (631) 589-2800. We would be happy to answer all of your questions and provide you with the information you’re looking for!

July 5, 2016