Fluorescent Light Bulbs
Recycling and disposal methods for fluorescent bulbs varies by type, such as compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) or tubes, as well as by application – household or commercial.
Residential, unbroken CFLs are collected at the following locations for recycling.
Kenny’s Ace Hardware
2880 S. Mt. Zion Road, Decatur – 217-864-9314
Lowe’s Home Improvement
990 Commerce Pl., Forsyth – 217-876-9750
CFLs contain small amounts of mercury that may be released into the environment as vapor when the bulbs are broken or improperly disposed. Care should be taken to avoid breakage but in the event that a CFL does become broken, follow the USEPA guidelines for clean-up.
Even though CFLs contain mercury, the use of CFLs actually reduces the amount of mercury released into the environment because of their energy-savings as compared to less efficient bulbs. To learn more, visit the USEPA webpage about connections between mercury and CFLs.
Recycling for household, fluorescent tubes is not locally available. Mail-in recycling for fluorescent tubes and CFLs is available through fee-based programs such as the EasyPak program by Air Cycle Corporation.
Fluorescent bulbs generated from facilities other than households must be managed according Illinois’ Universal Waste Rule based on the amount of mercury contained in the bulbs. Although non-hazardous fluorescent bulbs with lower levels of mercury may be disposed with municipal waste, bulbs that are classified as hazardous must be transported to a facility that accepts universal-waste lamps for recycling, treatment or disposal. Locally, Springfield Electric offers pick-up services and accepts bulbs at their stores for transportation to such a facility. Those with unwanted, non-residential bulbs may choose to treat all their bulbs as hazardous or determine if the bulbs are hazardous by referring to the manufacturer’s written claim or having the bulbs tested. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency website page regarding bulbs has further information.