Fluorescent tubes are an energy-efficient, durable and economical alternative to the traditional incandescent lamps. Most of the vendors and manufacturers assist in recycling fluorescent tubes and their safe disposal. As these tubes contain a small amount of mercury which is highly hazardous and classified under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), these fluorescent tubes cannot be thrown away in the trash.
Under the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Universal Waste, if these tubes are recycled properly then these are considered as non-hazardous waste. For large companies with huge fluorescent disposal can refer to the resource like Earth911.org.
How to Dispose of Fluorescent Tubes Safely?
It is important that hazardous waste disposal should be legal and proper to avoid any environmental threats. A burnt-out fluorescent tube needs to be removed carefully to avoid any damage while un-installation. Here are the 6 ways in which you can dispose of fluorescent bulbs:
1. Locate a Recycling Center
A recycling center in your jurisdiction is the best way for uninstalled fluorescent light disposal. Some of the states recommend safe waste disposal while the other states require recycling. You can easily find a recycling center within your jurisdiction. In order to locate a recycling center, you can search over the internet using your area code. The options like hazardous, local recycling and e-waste options can be explored for fluorescent light bulb disposal.
Besides the local recycling center, you can also locate the e-waste options to dispose of burnt out tubes conveniently.
While searching for the recycling center, enter the material you want to recycle along with your zip code. Alternatively, call 1-800-CLEANUP for assistance.
2. Treat as Universal Waste
You can refer to a universal waste center to dispose of fluorescent light bulbs in smaller or large quantities. If you are a business which is dealing in large quantities of fluorescent bulbs, this method is specifically convenient for you. You can refer the universal waste handlers which are specifically meant to deal with the universal waste for any quantities.
Any state only adds waste to the universal waste program when:
- The waste produced is hazardous.
- There are many generators producing the same waste.
- There is no exclusive industry producing waste.
Different states have different waste regulations that are required to adhere while treating the disposal of fluorescent tubes as universal waste. The various States have an authority to create different standards but these standards are equivalent to the federal regulations.
3. Refer Batteries Plus Bulbs Store
These specific stores are largely set-up in the United States to dispose of fluorescent bulbs safely without causing any environmental hazards. You can easily locate a local enter by searching over the internet. Founded in 1988, it is an Americans retail chain store with thousands of franchise spread across which deals in selling as well as recycling the light bulbs.
Incepted as Batteries Plus to deal primarily in various batteries, it later changed its name in 2012 as batteries plus bulb to incorporate the disposition of a range of light bulbs including fluorescent tubes and other associated inventory products. You can easily locate one store in your vicinity and dispose of the burnt fluorescent bulbs appropriately.
4. Mail Back Services by Manufacturers
There are several manufacturers that provide recycling kit to the customers at an additional cost. You can send the fluorescent bulbs back by dropping a mail to the manufacturer. A pre-labeled package is provided which is used to send back the burnt-out bulbs. Once the package is full, you can send it using postal services.
Many websites like Easypak and Thinks Green from home offer the recycling boxes of varied sizes of lamps, electronics, and batteries. The fees paid by the customer are inclusive of the plastic container with a lid, other applicable charges as well as the cost of recycling the bulbs inclusive of shipping. Some companies offer re-sealable bags instead of a container for disposition purposes.
5. Call 800-Clean Up
To locate an appropriate disposal center, you can call 800-clean up center. All you need to enter the zip code and it will suggest you the centers in your vicinity. This number is recently launched by Earth11.com to streamline the process for the consumers trying to locate an efficient recycling option via phone call. Specifically meant for individuals who are not tech-savvy, the same database can be referred over the phone call which is available on Earth11.com.
With over 100,000 household waste collection and recycling centers locations, it easily refers to the one in your vicinity. Most of these hotlines are bilingual in Spanish and English with the efficiency of handling 50,000 simultaneous calls by the system. As 29% of US households do not have internet access, it proved to be an effective medium of getting information about disposal and recycling. Referring to the local municipality is also a great way to get more information about the disposition of fluorescent tubes.
6. Try with Local Retailers
There are some local retailers like IKEA, Ace Hardware, Orchard Supply, Home Depot, etc which offer the recycling facilities in-store. So, you can also give away the burnt-out fluorescent tubes here. You can generally find a retailer in your vicinity to offer the recycling programs for the safe disposal of fluorescent tubes without causing any environmental or health hazards.
However, if you are not able to locate any such retailer near you, you can refer to the various websites offering the recycling kit. Upon referring mail the box facility, a certification of recycling is also sent confirming that the required fluorescent tube has been safely disposed of.
How to Recycle Fluorescent Tubes?
One of the best ways to dispose of fluorescent tubes is to recycle. You can opt mail-in program or other retail drop-offs. As most of these tubes last as long as 15000 hours, you are not required to recycle them frequently. Here are the reasons why should you opt for fluorescent tube recycling:
- Several states have banned landfills from mercury lamps.
- The various components like glass, mercury, and aluminum are prone to environmental hazards on its disposition.
A bulb recycler recycles the fluorescent tubes. Special machines are assigned to extract hazardous materials like mercury and break down the glass casing as well as aluminum caps. While mercury is reused further in the manufacturing of new bulbs and other products like thermostats, aluminum is used as scrap. Glass is recycled further as ceramic tile and concrete.
How to Get the Fluorescent Tubes Ready for Recycling?
- A burn-out tube has to be removed safely after turning off the fuse box which is used for power for the section of the house installing the burnt-out fluorescent tube.
- Unscrew the tube by removing the light cover. If the light is placed at a considerable height, you should use the ladder to prevent it from falling.
- Recycling is not available for the broken tubes hence it is very important to remove the burn-out tube safely to avoid any breakage.
- Use a bubble-wrap or newspaper to safely wrap the burn-out tube to avoid any damage in transit.
- Transport it to the recycling center to get it recycled.
Where Can I Recycle Fluorescent Tubes Near Me?
To recycle fluorescent tubes and bulbs can be sent to a hazardous waste collection event or center.
Call Recycle Programs and Services
To find the nearest recycling center, enter your Zip code. You can also call 800 CLEAN-UP (253-2687). If these options are not working out for you, you can ask Local Contact for Waste Recycling and Prevention. Recycle fluorescent tubes home depot is another option to consider.
Following are some of the websites which offer information regarding recycling and disposition:
California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) – To assist in the disposition of hazardous waste. For fluorescent tubes and lamps, the DTSC office should be contacted.
Waste Mercury Lamps- It gives guidelines on the transportation, recycling, and management of waste mercury lamps.
Association of Lighting & Mercury recyclers
A free drop-off program is launched by Home Depot which offers the pick-up of old CLF bulbs for recycling purposes.
Can You Throw Away Light Bulbs into Trash?
It is important to check with your garbage center before throwing away your light bulbs. If throwing away is illegal in your area, you can opt for recycling. Before putting light bulbs to trash, you should always wrap them in a plastic bag. Here are the 4 steps to dispose of light bulbs:
- Check Out the Local Laws
The mercury present in the bulbs poses an environmental threat for disposing of it in the trash. The state like California, New Hampshire, Washington, Maine, Minnesota, Vermont, and Massachusetts are prohibited in the United States to dispose of them in the trash. It is very important to check the local laws to procure the updated information about the disposition.
- Dispose of it in the Trash, Only if it is Legal
If the local law allows disposing of the bulbs in the trash, you can simply wrap them in a plastic bag or place them in cardboard and dispose of it.
- Consider Recycling
It is best to consider recycling of light bulbs with the home depots or IKEA. You can also check out portals like RecycleABulb.com or Earth911.com. These websites also offer curbside pickup to make the process easy.
- Broken Bulbs are not Meant for Recycling
As the broken bulbs cannot be considered or recycling purposes, it is important to dispose of in trash properly to avoid any environmental hazards.
It is recommended to take advantage of various recommended recycling options and never trash them in household wastes to avoid hazardous environmental effects.