NOVEMBER 20, 2013 BY 

Next in our series of Recycling PSAs: Light Bulbs – view the video here:

old vs new bulb

new bulb, old bulb

As with all our other topics, light bulbs are sometimes recyclable, and sometimes not. If you have older model incandescent light bulbs and floodlight bulbs, those are not recyclable and go in the landfill. These bulbs are not harmful to the landfill and will soon be phased out and non-compliant products will be prohibited from being manufactured or imported in the United States.

These types of bulbs are being phased out because the incandescent bulb that Thomas Edison invented is notoriously inefficient. It wastes 90% of its energy as heat rather than light, which is why it’s so hot when in use. By January 2014 the last of the phase-out will take place and incandescent bulbs will be available only while supplies last. This will affect 100, 75, 60, and 40-watt bulbs only.

What has been the most popular replacement bulb is compact fluorescent light (CFL). They are not new, but must of us have experienced them in their tube form. CFLs for home use are the ones that are a coiled tube in a bulb shape. These bulbs contain a small amount of mercury and do not pose a risk unless broken. Which is why they need to be recycled and disposed of properly and should not go into the landfill. If disposed of and broken within an improperly lined or older, deteriorating landfill, the mercury can leach into the ground water and pose a health risk to the surrounding area.  If they break in your home, special care needs to be taken to ensure safety when cleaning up. Limit your exposure by not inhaling or getting dust particles on skin or clothes– wash hands and clothes after clean up and where a handkerchief or dust mask.

For a local source to recycle your CFL bulbs safe and properly, you can bring them to Lightworks of Steamboat on Loggers Lane to be crushed in the “Bulb Eater.”
Want to see the Bulb Eater in action?  Or head into Lightworks and see it for yourself!

Light Works of Steamboat 1890 Loggers Lane Units #C & D Steamboat Springs, CO 80487 Tel: 970.879.3905 • Fax: 970.879.1840 •

Reference:  USA Today: How will light bulbs change?

View all 11 Recycling Tips here