How to Recycle Fluorescent Tubes
While compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) have extensive recycling options through retail drop-offs and mail-in programs, the same can’t be said for fluorescent tubes. Luckily, these tubes will last up to 15,000 hours, so you won’t need to worry about recycling them often.
Fluorescent Tube Recycling Preparation
- When uninstalling a burnt-out tube, make sure to turn off the fuse box providing power to that section of the house. Use a ladder to ensure the bulb doesn’t fall to the ground. You’ll then need to remove the light cover and unscrew the tube.
- If the tube breaks, here’s what to do. There’s no recycling market for broken fluorescent lamps.
- Pack your tube in newspaper or bubble wrap when transporting to a recycling center or household hazardous waste event. You don’t want it to break in your car.
Why Recycle Fluorescent Tubes
- Each fluorescent tube contains mercury, a hazardous material that is also quite valuable, as well as aluminum and glass
- Seven states have banned lamps containing mercury from landfills
Find a place near you to recycle your fluorescent tube with our Recycling Locator.
Frequent Fluorescent Tubes Recycling Questions
- I Broke a CFL. Now What?: A step-by-step plan for what to do if you break a fluorescent light
- Light Bulb Moment? Researchers See Bright Idea: An overview of the innovations in light bulbs over the years
- Top 16 Most-Searched Materials for Recycling: Fluorescent tubes are always one of the top-searched materials in the Earth911 recycling directory; see what else made the list