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An enlightening guide on how to recycle light bulbs

Light bulb recycling can seem confusing, but as long as you know which bulbs you’re dealing with, it’s easy to dispose of them correctly! Find out how here.


By Cleanipedia Team

light bulbs for recycling

Key steps

  1. Remember, even recyclable light bulbs can’t go out with your domestic recycling.
  2. Look out for recycling centres which accept recyclable light bulbs and have a look online for large supermarkets which might also accept them.
  3. For a good energy-saving option, go for LEDs, which last for a long time and don’t contain any environmentally hazardous substances.

Unless you’ve gone so eco-friendly that you go to bed with the sunset, chances are that most of the rooms in your house use electrical lighting. There are a lot of different kinds of electrical bulb, so the question becomes – when you replace your light bulbs, what do you do with the one that’s now defunct? Can light bulbs be recycled? What about the LEDs in your kitchen, or the energy-saving bulbs in your bedroom? Read on to find out how to recycle light bulbs of all different shapes and sizes!

Use energy saving bulbs where you can! They last longer, use less electricity and are widely recyclable at recycling centres and large supermarkets.

How to recycle light bulbs

When it comes to light bulb recycling, the most important thing is to check whether the specific bulb you’re using can be recycled in the first place! Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Incandescent light bulbs – Also known as standard light bulbs, these are commonly used in lamps and other household lighting. But if you’re hoping to recycle light bulbs around your home, they’re not the best choice. Unfortunately, these are not currently recyclable – the delicate electrical mechanisms inside them are too difficult to extract from the glass bulb. Dispose of these with your household waste.
  2. Fluorescent lights – this includes fluorescent tubes and energy saving light bulbs. These can be recycled, but be careful not to put them in with your household waste – some of the substances inside them, such as mercury, are very hazardous to the environment. You will need to take these to your local recycling plant, although you may also find that your local supermarket will take them.
  3. Halogen bulbs – As with incandescent bulbs, these are non-recyclable and should be disposed of with your household waste.
  4. LEDs – These are a popular choice of light, as they consume very little energy and last for a long time. They don’t contain any environmentally hazardous components, so they don’t need specialist recycling and can go in with your regular rubbish, but they can be a part of your light bulb recycling efforts – check with your local waste disposal services.

There you have it: how to recycle light bulbs! The important thing to remember is that even recyclable light bulbs cannot go out with your glass recycling. Contact your local authority for more information on where to recycle light bulbs, batteries and other things that can't necessarily go in the normal bin.

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Originally published