While fluorescent lighting offers environmental benefits, the disposal of burnt-out fluorescent tubes and bulbs poses hazards due to their mercury content. Improper disposal heightens the risk of bulb breakage, releasing harmful mercury vapor and metal dust into the air, and posing threats to health and the environment. All this makes it very important to understand how much does it cost to recycle fluorescent tubes and how to properly dispose them of.
The price to recycle fluorescent tubes can differ depending on where you are and which recycling facility you use. Here are some different price ranges to give you an idea of how much does it cost to recycle fluorescent tubes based on companies:
1. e-Waste Disposal Inc
- Straight Fluorescent Lamps: around $0.16 per foot
- Compact Fluorescent Lamps: approximately $0.90 each
- High/Low-Pressure Sodium, Metal Halide, Mercury Vapor Lamps: nearly $2.50 each
- Neon Lamps and ultra-violet Lamps: around $9.00 per pound
2. US EPA
- Compact Fluorescent Lamps can be recycled for a fee ranging from $0.50 to $1.00.
- Additional charges for pick-up, transport, or mailing may apply, so it’s advisable to check with the recycler for specific pricing details.
3. Northern Virginia Regional Commission
Compact Fluorescent Lights can be recycled for around $0.50 – $2.00.
After learning how much does it cost to recycle fluorescent tubes, let’s explore how to dispose of fluorescent light bulbs.
Note: These are approximate prices and may change. Always contact your recycling facility for the current rates.
The EPA suggests using local recycling options for CFLs, fluorescent bulbs, and other mercury-containing bulbs, as well as all other household hazardous wastes. Avoid tossing such bulbs in regular household trash and consider the following options for proper disposal:
1. Waste Collection Agencies
- Contact your local waste collection agency for information on free or sometimes fee-based services.
- Check search.Earth911.com for collection schedules and drop-off locations in your area.
- Some agencies may collect hazardous household items annually, so residents may need to store bulbs until collection events.
2. Local Retailers
- Many hardware stores and retailers offer in-store recycling services.
- Verify participation with the specific store, as not all locations within regional or nationwide chains may be involved.
- Some stores may only recycle specific bulb types.
- Visit search.Earth911.com to find participating stores or check specific retailers.
3. Mail-Back Services
- Some bulb manufacturers and organizations sell pre-labeled recycling kits.
- Kits include shipping charges to recycling centres; fill them with used bulbs and send them to the center.
4. Local Utility Company
- Utilize your local utility company’s bulb recycling program. Inquire with your electric or gas company about availability in your community.
- These programs typically feature collection bins in stores and public areas for used fluorescent bulbs.
5. Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Facility
- Visit a Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) facility, handling various hazardous wastes, including fluorescent tubes and CFL bulbs.
- Services at these municipal or county facilities are often free for residents, though some may impose a small disposal fee.
6. Dispose with Caution When Recycling Isn’t an Option
Employ safe disposal practices when recycling isn’t an option. If recycling services are unavailable in your area and throwing bulbs away is the sole choice, ensure wrapping them in paper towels and sealing them in zip-top plastic bags before placing them in your weekly trash collection. This minimizes mercury vapor leaks.
Always confirm details directly with the recycling service or retailer before disposing of your bulbs.
Since you know how to dispose of light bulbs with mercury, let’s also understand how to dispose of LED light bulbs. You can dispose of LED bulbs in your regular trash service, as they are typically not accepted in curbside recycling programs. LED bulbs, available in bulb and reflector shapes with plastic tops and bottoms, and metal sockets, do not contain mercury but have circuit boards with lead and arsenic.
While not considered hazardous waste, it’s advisable to check if your local recycling program accepts LED bulbs through special collection services. To discard LED bulbs in regular trash, simply place them in the bin, as they are made of plastic and won’t shatter.
After finding out how to dispose of fluorescent light bulbs and LED lights, let’s discover where to recycle old lights and fluorescent tubes in the upcoming segments.
To recycle old light bulbs, you can follow these options:
- Retailers: Check with retailers like Lowe’s and IKEA for fluorescent tube and incandescent light bulb recycling. Some retailers even provide free light bulb recycling.
- Recycling Centers: Find nearby centers using search.Earth911.com.
- Local Authorities: Inquire about city or county programs.
- Online Services: Some platforms offer mail-in bulb recycling.
Also, take a look at 7 Advantages of Smart Bulbs Over Regular LED Bulbs
You can recycle CFLs for free through local waste collection agencies, but the same doesn’t apply to fluorescent tubes. Retailers like Home Depot and Lowe’s offer free CFL recycling specifically for consumers. CFLs, often bought by consumers at these stores, are easier to recycle. However, fluorescent tubes, mainly used in offices, pose more challenges for shipping in recycling processes. Thus, there aren’t many notable recycling centers where you can recycle fluorescent tubes for free.
You can also check out How to Recycle Rice Pellets to Make Waterproof Wood
Yes, Home Depot recycles CFL bulbs, but not all locations accept fluorescent tubes or LED bulbs. Similarly, Walmart doesn’t recycle fluorescent tubes and only accepts CFL bulbs. Verify the specific disposal policies for fluorescent tubes at both Home Depot and Walmart by calling ahead.
Proper disposal of fluorescent tubes and bulbs is crucial for environmental safety. You can explore various options, such as local recycling facilities or hazardous waste disposal, ensuring that these bulbs are recycled and not discarded with regular garbage.
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