Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) help conserve natural resources like coal and gas by using far less electricity than common incandescent bulbs. CFLs last longer, too. Unfortunately, some good things do end and your CFL will eventually burn out.
All CFL bulbs, including ENERGY STAR® qualified bulbs, contain a small amount of mercury -- about 5 milligrams (mg) per bulb. That's less than the mercury in your average watch battery, and just enough to cover the tip of a ballpoint pen. CFLs are safe to use, as they do not emit mercury when they are intact, in use, properly stored, handled, and/or installed. Because CFLs do contain a small amount of mercury, the bulbs should be recycled properly and not thrown in the trash. By recycling the bulbs, you are helping prevent the release of mercury into the environment. Plus, almost all components of the bulbs can be reused.
Focus on Energy has made it easy for you by partnering with nearly 400 retailers across the state to offer free CFL recycling
. Simply bring in your expired, unbroken CFLs to a participating retailer near you, and they will ship them to an environmental management center to be recycled in accordance with environmental regulations.LED Recycling
You don’t have to worry about mercury with LED bulbs, but they do contain nickel, some lead, and even trace amounts of arsenic. When used properly, these lights are risk-free, but they have significant health hazards if they're thrown out in the trash to be left in a landfill. LED bulbs should be properly disposed of similar to other e-waste.
More than 95 percent of an LED bulb is recyclable. You can recycle your LED bulbs at Dane County Clean Sweep
, or use Earth911's free search tool
to find other recycling solutions near you.