Fluorescent bulbs are considered hazardous waste in California when they are thrown away because they have mercury in them that leaks into the ground when they are broken. Mercury is a highly potent toxin that impacts the function and development of the nervous system in both people and wildlife. All fluorescent bulbs contain mercury and must be recycled, or taken to a household hazardous waste disposal facility, a universal waste handler, or an authorized recycling facility.
Store your used or unused fluorescent lights and bulbs in their original boxes or other protective containers until you are ready to use them or bring them to be recycled. Store them away from rain or water so if they break, the mercury from inside will not be washed into waterways. Be sure to transport bulbs in their original boxes to prevent them from breaking, you don’t want little pieces of glass and mercury powder all over you and your car.
If there is a small breakage around the house or office it is advised not to use a vacuum to clean it up. First, make sure you keep pets and other people from tracking pieces everywhere. Next, put on some latex gloves and carefully clean up the small glass fragments, and wipe the area clean with a damp paper towel to remove all fragments and mercury. Place all pieces and powder into sealed plastic bags and recycle the pieces with your other bulbs when it is time. Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly after clean up.
If there is a large breakage of multiple bulbs ventilate the area where breakage occurred immediately . With your latex gloves carefully separate any unbroken lamps and cleanup broken pieces and powder with a special mercury vacuum cleaner that avoids dust and mercury entering the air. Place broken shards in sealed containers and make sure to recycle the waste along with your other bulbs. Always make sure to wash up after cleaning broken bulbs and tubes.
Your used light bulbs and lamps can be dropped off at our San Diego Sentry Storage Solutions location.
Lamps dropped off for recycling are placed in a secure location until they are transferred to the possession of Lights Out Disposal Company who retrieves and transports all materials to a licensed facility for proper disposal.
Fluorescent Lamps – up to 10 feet
Compact Fluorescent Bulbs- CFL
Biax and U-Bent Fluorescent Lamps
High Intensity Discharge Lamps
Low and High Pressure Sodium Lamps
Metal Halide Lamps