How to Dispose of Mercury Bulbs Ethically and Responsibly

Discover how to dispose of toxic mercury bulbs in two simple steps!

Universal Waste
Estimated Reading Time - 5 min

In many states, including California, compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs, high-intensity discharge (HID) bulbs, and other mercury bulbs are defined as universal waste. For this reason, they should stay out of the trash and, ultimately, landfills. If you’re looking to avoid fines and fees and remain eco-friendly, you need to be mindful of your disposal etiquette. Below, we’ll discuss how to dispose of mercury bulbs responsibly in two simple steps.

Discard Mercury Bulbs in Two Easy Steps

Even if you’re using energy-efficient fluorescent light bulbs with small amounts of mercury, they’re still considered a hazard and should be treated as such. When it comes time to dispose of used mercury bulbs, follow our guidelines below.

  1. Keep Them Stored in a Safe and Secure Place

    Before taking any action, make sure you have a safe area to store your bulbs before being hauled away. Never place them in a recycling bin with other materials or tape them together. It’s crucial to keep mercury lightbulbs away from children and pets.

    If you can, try keeping them in their original packaging. Otherwise, opt for a box or storage container to reduce their chances of shattering and spreading mercury vapor. If, by accident, you do end up with a broken bulb, make sure everyone exits the room. Then, follow these clean-up instructions recommended by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

  2. Locate Your Nearest Recycler for a Drop-off or Scheduled Pick-up

    After you’ve designated a safe place for storing your mercury-containing light bulbs, it’s time to do some research and select the most appropriate option for hauling. A select number of states and localized regions throughout the country require businesses and households to follow strict regulations when disposing of hazardous waste. California specifically requires that all fluorescent tubes be recycled or handed over to a waste disposal or universal waste hauler. Whether you go with a local drop-off center or a hazardous waste pick-up center is contingent upon your business’s size, amount of light bulbs needing recycled, and your location.

    If you’re only dealing with a handful of bulbs, you may be able to use your county’s household hazardous waste (HHW) drop-off location. Several nationwide retailers, such as Ikea and Home Depot, also provide drop-off services for used CFL bulbs that you can take advantage of. For other suitable alternatives, use a recycling database to pinpoint authorized waste collectors in your area.

    You’ll most likely need to arrange a pick-up time with a commercial hazardous waste disposer if you’re a large company with hundreds or more bulbs to recycle. Many businesses schedule these services in advance. Typically, they will stop by your facility on a weekly or monthly basis to haul your material for you. Make sure you keep copies of all receipts and shipping paperwork on hand.

If you’re searching for mercury bulb disposal services near Los Angeles, CA, look no further than Easy Waste Management. Our universal waste management services can help ensure you’re keeping toxic mercury bulbs out of landfills while complying with regulations. Contact us today for your free consultation!

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