How to Recycle CFLs

Overview

When you are trying to convert your lifestyle into something that is good for the environment, it involves many changes that can feel overwhelming. So, if you are looking for a way to go green, you can start by changing your lightbulbs. 

Specifically, if you are using incandescent light bulbs, replace them with compact fluorescent light bulbs or CFLs. However, it is vital that you recycle CFL bulbs because they contain mercury, which can cause harmful effects towards another person or the environment.

CFL Recycling Preparation

When recycling CFLs, it is important to know the hows. That is why we provide you with a step-by-step process on how you can recycle your CFLs properly. Follow along the steps here:

  1. When a CFL’s power is diminished, you should remove it from its socket or ceiling receptacle. But, it is vital that you remember to turn off that switch prior to removing the CFL. This saves you the pain of being electrocuted, Better yet, if you can turn off all power within the area where your CFL is located, it is a much safer option.
  2. After you remove the CFL from its socket, the next step is to store them in a plastic bag with a zipper. This ensures that if the light bulb were to break, the mercury inside it would not leak out. On top of that, always make sure that you put each CFL in separate plastic bags. This decreases the chances of it breaking while in the middle of being transported.
  3. Now that you have carefully packaged your CFLs, the next step is to take them to the right facility, which is an Antifreeze, Batteries, Oil, Paint or ABOP facility. You may also drop them off at your local Lower’s, IKEA, Batteries + Bulbs, and Home Depot. Additionally, see if there are any household hazardous waste event in your area.

Those are the necessary steps that you need to follow in order to ensure a healthy environment. However, in a case where a CFL breaks before step two, you need to follow these steps to avoid any intoxication. 
 
But first, here are a few things that you would need: Cardboard or any stiff paper, disposable wet wipes, wet or damp paper towels, and an airtight container (resealable plastic bags, jars, etc.). Once you have gathered all the necessary materials, you can follow these steps to clean and dispose a broken CFL:

  1. Make sure to let every other person or pet out of the room where the broken bulb is.
  2. Turn off any AC or heating systems.
  3. Open your window/s, so that air can freely pass through the entire room. Air out the room for about 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Use cardboard or any stiff paper to sweep all the shards of glass. Plus, you may also use a tape to collect smaller debris and/or powder.
  5. Place all the broken pieces gathered from the cardboard or tape into the resealable plastic bag or jar.
  6. Put the plastic bag or jar into another sealable container.
  7. After you have done all of the above, dispose of the broken CFL’s debris and used cleaning materials into its proper trash bin outside of your house.
  8. When possible, transfer all materials to the proper facility (see recycling steps above).
  9. It is also best to leave your windows open for several hours before closing them. However, this would depend on the weather conditions.

Things to Avoid

Before you go and clean up a broken CFL, here are a few things that you should avoid doing:

Why Recycle CFLs?

Now that we have answered the hows, we are going to discuss the whys. In this section you will find out why it is utterly necessary for you or your business to recycle CFLs.