Light-emitting diode (LED) light bulbs are a very high-efficiency lighting option. These bulbs produce light up to 90% more efficiently than old-school incandescent light.
LEDs are even more efficient than compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs, which are up to 70% more energy efficient compared to incandescent bulbs. Because LEDs last so long, you will probably use your LED light bulb for a long time before you need to worry about recycling.
LED Light Bulb Recycling Preparation
- Turn off the lamp or light before removing the LED bulb from the fixture.
- Some LED light bulb recycling drop-off locations may ask you to wrap each bulb separately in a plastic bag to reduce breakage and to protect workers if bulbs do break. However, this is not always the case. Your best bet is to ask your recycler what their requirements are before you drop off your LED bulbs for recycling.
- If you are recycling string lights, remove them from any displays (for instance, a pine tree wire structure or wreath).
Why Recycle LED Light Bulbs
The glass and metal used in LED bulbs is recyclable. Like any glass or metal product, it is the best practice to reuse and recycle these finite, non-renewable resources as much as we can to conserve Earth’s resources and to reduce needless waste.
According to GreenTech Solutions, 95% of an LED bulb can be recycled. However, not every part is recycled in every facility. The cost of separating the materials may be prohibitive for some facilities, and not all facilities are equipped to process the bulbs.
Where to Recycle LED Light Bulbs
- Big-box stores like Lowes, Home Depot, and IKEA may offer in-store recycling bins where you can drop off your old LED light bulbs. Contact your local store for details.
- Many municipal safety departments offer both LED and CFL recycling on specific days or at set locations. Check with your city.
- Most Batteries Plus stores accept old LED bulbs for a fee, as do some hardware stores. Contact your local store for details.
- If you cannot find a local recycling option, NLR, LampMaster, Republic Services, and Veolia offer mail-in programs for a fee.
- LED holiday string lights can also be recycled through big box stores or mailed to HolidayLEDs, Environmental LED, or Christmas Light Source.
Frequent LED Light Bulb Recycling Questions
- The Phase-Out of Incandescent Light Bulbs: What You Need To Know: Read how LED bulbs are taking over the market.
- Energy Star: Learn About LED Lighting: Understand the concepts behind how LED bulbs work and how they are different than other light sources.
- CFLs, LEDs and Incandescents, Oh My!: A helpful source for choosing the right lighting option for your home.