How to Dispose of Different Types of Light Bulbs?

Did you know that lightbulbs are considered hazardous waste? This is because they contain mercury and other chemicals that can cause harm to the environment.

These bulbs should never be thrown in your garbage!

There are many steps involved with disposing of a light bulb, so read on for more information on properly disposing of them.

how do you throw out a light bulb

Guide to Safely Disposing of Light Bulbs of All Types


Recycling is a great way to dispose of old incandescent light bulbs.

These lamps are different from other hazardous wastes because they contain mercury which can be harmful if leaked into the soil, water, or air, and should not just be thrown away for disposal.

The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) recommendation is to place incandescent light bulbs in a plastic bag, fold the top of the bag over at least three times and pinch it.

Put this ball into a second plastic bag, fold the top over, then go outside and place it in the correctly labeled garbage can.

 Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFLs) 

There are many unreliable sources on the internet advising people to dispose of CFL bulbs in the trash.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Recycling Coalition have both previously recommended throwing these fluorescent tubes away with other household waste but has since changed their position due to safety concerns.

There are several different ways to dispose of a compact fluorescent lamp. The easiest may be simply taking the bulb, ballast, and tube to your local recycling center for free.

Local laws for this vary, so it’s best to check how your region requires you to dispose of CFLs.


Halogen lamps should never be disposed of in the garbage or down the sink; instead, they should always be recycled.

The wisest decision would be to not dispose of the bulb on your own and ask a technician with experience.

Halogen lamps are made up of four parts – an encased quartz glass tube, filament, halogen gas inlet, and oxidizer used for thermal insulation.

Halogen lamps are typically considered hazardous because they can leak liquid vaporized mercury, posing dangers even if left on a countertop in an enclosed garage.

Safe disposal of halogen lamps should be handled by a qualified hauler.

 Light Emitting Diode (LED) 

LEDs have a very low rate of generating heat energy, and there are no toxic materials in LEDs. So there is no need to use a hazardous waste disposal method for this product.

The law requires businesses and households to recycle used mercury-containing items instead of disposing of them in the trash.

Some states also have requirements for taking care when disposing of them that go beyond what’s required by federal law.

For example; some require that these bulbs be broken before disposal; others ban disposal at landfills.

Suppose your state has no specific recycling requirements for these bulbs. In that case, they must be disposed of in the trash according to your local waste management regulations or follow instructions provided with the bulb.

 Fluorescent Tubes 

Fluorescent Tubes are made from a combination of glass and metal. They can be recycled through your local recycling plant.

Follow the instructions on your town’s recycling bin for glass if it includes Fluorescent Tubes in the list, or call your municipality to find out how you can recycle them.

Some towns require that fluorescent tube pieces have safety tape at both ends before picking them up, so be sure to do this before you put them out for pickup.

You also want to ensure all the pieces are fully ground by running over them with a vehicle, crushing them first, or breaking them into smaller pieces.

Other ways to Recycling/Reuse Lights bulb

Did you know that there are many other ways to recycle or reuse a light bulb?

There is an abundance of great ideas out there, and they’re all easy to do. Here’s some more information about the different options for recycling your old lights.

  • It’s possible to donate them as part of an organization’s fundraiser. Some organizations will even pick up the bulbs from your home for free!
  • You can also repurpose them in a new project by using them as a planter or vase. All you need is some plants and water!
  • You could also use it in your garden, where it would work well as a birdbath or patio decoration.


1. Do led light bulbs need to be recycled?

LED lights do not need to be recycled. This doesn’t mean that you should throw them away.

It’s always good to recycle anything that can be recycled, and these bulbs can actually still last for years, saving consumers money in the process.

So if you have any old or used bulbs that are ready to be thrown away, put them aside so they can be recycled for your benefit as well as for the environment’s sake! It really doesn’t take much effort.

Just by organizing and packing them correctly, it could mean a massive difference in people’s lives!

2. How to dispose of light bulbs that contain mercury?

The easiest and safest way is to keep the bulb in a sealed bag or container until it’s time for proper disposal.

Put any broken bulbs in a container, put the lid on, label it “broken mercury-containing bulb,” and seal it shut.

Call your municipal solid waste agency for instructions on how to dispose of materials with hazardous waste items.

You can also take them to a nearby recycling station that accepts these items or the facilities that accept hazardous household waste.


Most Light bulbs are toxic to the environment, and we must dispose of them properly.

Light bulbs often contain mercury which is toxic and can damage the environment if not disposed of properly. It’s also illegal to throw them in the trash or leave them out for city pick up.

The best way to dispose of your light bulbs is at a recycling center or by contacting the manufacturer for disposal instructions.