Accumulation of waste is a major problem in most of the countries around the globe, and it happens as a combination of our own irresponsibility, manufacturers’ production of non-degradable packaging and other products. Light bulbs make up a small part of the world’s total waste, but most of them are very difficult to degrade and demand special treatment when it comes to disposal. If you want to be a part of the solution, instead of being a part of the problem, you should figure out what types of light bulbs you have in your home and get rid of them accordingly after they burn out.
Proper Disposal of Light Bulbs
These have been the most common light bulbs in households for decades, and in some parts of the world they still are. Incandescent bulbs are not very energy-efficient, since they transform most of the electricity into heat instead of light.
If you want to dispose of these energy vampires you should call your local recycling center to check if they accept incandescent bulbs. If not, you should pack them in their original packaging or plastic bags before throwing them, so that someone wouldn’t get hurt. You can also repurpose them into some useful thing.
These bulbs are one kind of incandescent bulbs, and they are lit by a filament which is in a tube with halogen gas. They are slightly more efficient than the original type of incandescent bulbs, but not nearly enough. They can get hot enough to burn someone and when they burn out there is not much opportunity for recycling. The best thing you can do is to throw them in the trash. Luckily, halogen bulbs don’t contain toxic materials.
Unlike the first two mentions, LED lamps are made without a filament and consume very little power. They also excel in longevity and minimizing heat production. These most energy-efficient light bulbs don’t use any dangerous chemicals either which makes their disposal rather simple – you can just throw them away. Still, most of the modern LED bulbs are made of recyclable materials, claim at Industralight, so you can toss them in the recycling bin, too.
Tubular fluorescent lights are most often used in offices, hospitals, schools and sometimes even garages. They produce very little heat and are fairly energy-efficient. The lamps contain a small amount of mercury so their disposal isn’t as simple as with the previous bulbs. Since mercury is a toxin, in some countries, it is illegal to throw them in the trash or for recycling. You can check with your local recycling center or garbage service to see if they have a fluorescent lights disposal service or a certain drop off location. Some larger retailers offer recycling services for lamps bought through them. If you are shipping the lamps to the recycling center, make sure you wrap each one of them up in newspaper or bubble wrap, so that there wouldn’t be any breakage and leakage of mercury.
Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs)
CFLs are compact versions of tubular fluorescent bulbs. They are frequently used in homes as a replacement for incandescent bulbs since they don’t use as much electricity and turn almost all the power into light instead of heat. Just as their “bigger version” compact fluorescent lamps, they contain mercury which impacts the disposal process, which should be performed in the same way as with tubular lamps. If the mentioned options are not possible, you can visit Earth911.com or RecycleABulb.com to find advice on other ways to safely dispose of a CFL bulb.
We should do our best to minimize negative impacts on our environment, by minding how and what we’re throwing away and reducing the amount of energy we use. One of the steps towards more responsible energy consumption is replacing incandescent and halogen light bulbs with more efficient CFLs or LED bulbs.