The Right Way To Dispose of Old Light Bulbs

Sadly, light bulbs don’t last for an eternity, which means you need to replace them. While your mind may be focusing on the next light bulb for your fixtures, you should make a concerted effort to get rid of the old one. There is a right way to dispose of old light bulbs depending on the bulb, so let us break this down.

Halogen Light Bulbs

There’s a pair of light bulbs that don’t require much effort to dispose of, with the first of the two being the halogen bulb. Your trash basket at home is good enough for getting rid of these bulbs, considering their impact on the environment is negligible.

Halogen glass can withstand more pressure than other bulbs. However, it’s still a good idea to wrap it or put it in a container to prevent it from shattering and potentially injuring you or someone else handling the trash bag.

If you want to go the extra mile and recycle these bulbs, contact your local recycling center to ensure they take them before making the trip there.

Incandescent Light Bulbs

You can also toss incandescent bulbs straight into the garbage. However, their components have trace amounts of recyclable material, so some recycling centers may want them in their possession rather than a landfill. Additionally, some creative minds may want to repurpose your old lights for an art project. This may give you another option if you wish to help someone.

If a bulb breaks, it’s wise to place the remnants in a towel container you’re ready to throw out to prevent shards from poking through the bag.


There are various compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) to choose from that are much more efficient than incandescent versions. While you can easily toss incandescent bulbs in a trash bag, that’s a big no-no for CFLs.

These bulbs contain mercury, which can harm people and animals. One CFL bulb breaking won’t lead to catastrophic results. But hundreds of thousands of them spilling mercury in the landfill can have horrible consequences.

Plenty of services are happy to collect your CFL bulbs to ensure they do not cause any harm.

Fluorescent Tubes

Another mercury-containing lighting type is the fluorescent tube. This light has a lot of characteristics that make it dangerous to just throw away. Of course, mercury can pose a major problem that should keep you from putting it with the rest of the trash. Moreover, these lights are as fragile as they come and require special care.

The US helps the safe disposal cause by maintaining a database of facilities that take the tubes for recycling. The odds are that you should have an option within reasonable driving distance, giving you a clear conscience by disposing of your fluorescent tubes the right way.


LED bulbs are becoming more common in homes and businesses, replacing the old bulbs from years past. Although they last significantly longer than their counterparts, they do burn out eventually. Some folks take the easy way out and toss them in the trash can, but recycling is the best action.

LED bulbs have small microchips that contain arsenic and lead. And if you ever learned anything from watching Forensic Files, arsenic can grave results. No one should want their landfill to accumulate these dangerous substances.

Disposing of old light bulbs in the right way is best for you and the planet.

Stylighting recommends carefully following these steps. We also believe that switching to LED bulbs is the proper move once you know to recycle them. We have several LED lighting options available, so contact us today.

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