How to Throw Out Energy Saving Light Bulbs

Energy saving light bulbs help cut your electric bill. Learn the differences between the two major types and which one takes more care to throw away.

Safely Dispose Energy Saving Light Bulbs

Energy saving light bulbs help you save money but because some contain harmful metals, they're hard to throw out. Find out the ways you can dispose of them safely and responsibly.

Some energy saving light bulbs contain metals that are harmful to the environment. So, how are you supposed to get rid of them? Learn how to dispose of them safely and responsibly.

Many MA electricity customers are searching for simple ways to save money. Especially since the hot summer months are right around the corner. That’s a good reason to switch to energy saving light bulbs for annual savings. But you can’t just trash these better bulbs when you’re done with them. So let’s find out more what you need to know before you throw out your energy saving light bulbs.

Types Of Energy Saving Light Bulbs

If you’ve shopped around you might have heard about CFL and LED bulbs. They both save energy and money compared to traditional incandescent bulbs. But they use very different kinds of materials.

CFL bulbs have about 4 milligrams of mercury inside of them. The mercury reacts with argon and an electrical charge to make light. Unfortunately mercury is highly toxic. Even a small amount can contaminate water and food. If a CFL bulb breaks, the mercury can harm humans and pets if they breathe it in. That’s why MA is one of several states that prohibit mercury-containing lamps to be discarded in landfills.

On the other hand, LED bulbs use tiny microchips that react with electricity to make light. The microchips often have trace amounts of harmful metals like lead. While disposing of them in the trash isn’t prohibited, it still isn’t great for the environment in a landfill.

Properly Throw Out Light Bulbs

Recycling is the best option for your dead energy-efficient light bulbs.

You can start by calling your local home improvement stores. These stores, such as Home Depot, will take your old bulbs for recycling. You can also reach out to your nearest recycling facility to see if they can take old bulbs.

You can also reach out to the EPA. They have several other options for your bulb recycling needs.

Be Careful For Broken Bulbs

But what do you do if your bulbs break?

If it’s an LED bulb, then shut off the light fixture the bulb was in. Then carefully remove the bulb and clean up any broken glass. Collect the broken pieces in a secure bag, then take them for recycling. Be sure you wear gloves while you work.

For CFL bulbs, make sure you send all children and pets out of the room. Open a window to air the room out for 5-10 minutes. Turn off your HVAC system to prevent mercury dust or vapor spread. Then follow this EPA guide on safe cleanup and disposal.

Safely Throw Out Bad Bulbs

Saving money is easy if you switch to energy efficient light bulbs. But once they wear out, you should remember to be safe when throwing them out. Thankfully, it’s easy to stay safe and enjoy cheaper home lighting.

You can learn more about other ways of saving money and energy by comparing rates and plans at

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