The Proper Disposal of Light Bulbs

Posted by: Jason Donati on Thursday, February 20, 2014

NPR recently did a great story about helping consumers know which light bulb is the best for you and the environment. We would like to follow up with something that is also very important for citizens to know, which is "What do you do with a light bulb once it no longer works?"

Common incandescent light bulbs can be placed in traditional toters or trashcans, while CFL’s and fluorescents contain small amounts of mercury and should be disposed of at East Central Recycling on Centennial Avenue during regular business hours.


Currently there are 4 types of light bulbs available to you for purchase, and they include:

•Standard Incandescent- the most common and standard light bulb found in homes. 

Halogen Incandescent- a newer incandescent with added halogen gas to help it burn more efficiently.


•CFL- compact fluorescents, visibly made up of one bulb in a swirl.

•LED- light-emitting diode, the most environmentally friendly bulb available.


NPR has also put together a great “Guide to Changing Light Bulbs” with lots of detail and helpful information.

After you decide to invest in the more energy efficient bulbs that are offered to you, keep in mind how to properly dispose of them when they are no longer providing light.

  • Standard Incandescent and Halogen Incandescent bulbs cannot typically be recycled and should be disposed of in the regular trash. It helps to place them back in there cardboard container or wrap them in newspaper or magazine to avoid breaking.
  • CFL light bulbs and Fluorescent light bulbs CAN NOT go in your regular trash and need to be disposed of properly by taking them to East Central Recycling on Centennial Avenue. These light bulbs contain a small amount of mercury and are considered hazardous.
  • LED light bulbs can be disposed of in your regular trash collection. The good thing about LED light bulbs is that they have an estimated life of more than 20 years!

Now that you know all about light bulbs please help spread the word by sharing this blog with your friends and family! Follow the Recycling Department on twitter @ThinkBlueMuncie.


Some more helpful links about light bulbs can be found below:

CFL Disposal: http://www.munciesanitary.org/recycling/about-compact-fluorescent-bulbs/

Cleaning up of broken CFL’s: http://www.energystar.gov/ia/partners/promotions/change_light/downloads/Fact_Sheet_Mercury.pdf

EPA’s Recycling and Disposal info: http://www2.epa.gov/cfl/recycling-and-disposal-after-cfl-burns-out

NPR’s Guide to Light bulbs: http://www.npr.org/2014/01/24/265489559/nprs-guide-to-changing-light-bulbs