Fluorescent Light Bulbs
Compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs), fluorescent tubes, high-intensity discharge bulbs used in exterior lighting and neon-light tubes all contain mercury. These bulbs should be properly disposed of in order to avoid polluting the environment and avoiding a potential health threat. It is illegal to throw these bulbs in the trash. Using energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs saves money and protects the environment. For more information on fluorescent light bulbs visit the MN Pollution Control Agency
Replace: Substitute burned out incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. You may place incandescent light bulbs in the trash. Check out the MPCA guide for fluorescent light bulbs.
Reduce: Decrease your energy costs by using fluorescent light bulbs. They use less energy and last longer than incandescent bulbs.
Replacing a 100-watt incandescent bulb with an equivalent compact fluorescent bulb can save you as much as $50 over the life of the bulb.
Replacing a 150-watt bulb with a 28-watt compact fluorescent bulb results in 1,020 pounds less carbon dioxide released from power plants over the lifetime of the fluorescent bulb.
Source: Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
Recycle: Burned out or broken CFLs, fluorescents, HID and neon bulbs should be taken to the Household Hazardous Waste Facility in Fergus Falls or a HHW mobile collection. A maximum of 10 fluorescent bulbs/tubes from a household is accepted at the HHW facility. CFLs (compact bulbs only-no tubes) may be taken to Home Depot in Fergus Falls.
MPCA printable flyer: “Doing a little ‘light’ cleaning?”
No business waste such as fluorescent light bulbs is accepted at the HHW facility or at mobile collections. Businesses may call Light Returns Recycling at 218.736.3359 for fluorescent light bulb recycling. For more information about selling bulbs visit the MPCA.
How should you transport fluorescent light bulbs?
Place the bulbs in the original packaging or wrap them in newspaper or bubble wrap. Carry them in the trunk of your car if possible.
What should you do if you break a fluorescent light bulb?
Keep people and pets away from the spill and open all windows.Call a poison control center if someone has inhaled mercury vapors. If mercury has touched your skin, shoes, or clothing, stay still and have someone bring you a plastic trash bag and wet paper towels. Wipe off visible beads of mercury with wet paper towels and put them into the trash bag. Remove contaminated shoes and clothing and place them in the trash bag. Seal the bag. Dispose of clothing properly and shower well