How to Dispose of Incandescent Bulbs

Switching to compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) is one quick and easy way to decrease the amount of energy you need to light your home as well as decreasing your utility bill! But you have heard correctly. In order to make CFLs an eco-friendly choice from start to finish, you do need to dispose of them differently than you would a traditional incandescent bulb. This is due to the small amount of mercury that is sealed in the glass tubing of the bulb.

On average, a CFL will contain around 5 mg of mercury; not a lot when you consider that old thermometers contained around 500 mg of mercury. Mercury is the biggest environmental drawback to CFLs, and knowing this, manufacturers are working to reduce even further the amount of mercury in their bulbs. So when your CFL’s finally do burn out, you need to take them to a proper recycling station. The easiest way to find one near you is to go to and type in CFL and your zip code. If the drop-off is out of the way, you may want to consider storing your old CFLs in a secure container until you’ll either be in the area, or you have enough old bulbs to warrant a trip.

For more information or to subscribe at the introductory price of $10 a year, go to Positively Green magazine launched in 2008 as a quarterly women’s magazine that covers every aspect of green from eco-friendly vacations to green fashion to green health. With articles that don’t just explain the problems, they outline solutions for busy people who want to make the change but don’t have the time to research solutions.

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Yulan Lawson
Yulan Lawson2 years ago

Thanks for the heads up it all helps.

Miranda R.
Miranda Lee R.3 years ago

Ummmm...and how many people are actually going to dispose of them properly? Along with all other eWaste? I think putting a product on the shelves that has any mercury at all is irresponsible. This is NOT green!

Brenda Towers
Brenda Towers3 years ago


Debbie L.
Debbie Lim3 years ago


New G.
New G.3 years ago

Thank you.

K s Goh
KS Goh4 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Clare E.
Clare Edwards4 years ago

I hate these bulbs. I use them, but they suck. I've tried multiple brands and the stupid things keep burning out....Kind of kills the point. I'm going to keep trying different brands.....My wallet hates me.

Lynn C.
Lynn C.4 years ago

Great! So far the bulbs have lasted and no one's broken one..but I'm prepared now!

Jon Hoy
Jonjon Hoy4 years ago


go G.
C. G.4 years ago