Lights - Fluorescent lamps and ballasts (business only)
Fluorescent lamps contain mercury vapor. Although the amount of mercury vapor in each lamp is small, care should still be taken in handling and disposing of fluorescent lamps. Please remember that it is illegal to put fluorescent lamps and other mercury-containing lamps in your trash or household recycling cart.
When CFLs and fluorescent lamps have burned out, you can recycle the lamps. Recycling CFLs and fluorescent lamps captures the mercury vapor, which can be reused in new lamps. Due to advanced recycling procedures, 99% of an old fluorescent lamp can be recycled into a new fluorescent lamp.
Fluorescent lamps come in many shapes and sizes including:
- 4 foot, 6 foot & 8 foot linears
- CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps)
- Corkscrew-type bulbs & U-tubes
- Black lights
- High intensity discharge bulbs (HID)
- Metal halide
- High Pressure Sodium
- Ultraviolet bulbs
- Neon bulbs
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were discontinued for use in fluorescent ballasts manufactured after 1979. Typically, ballasts which do not contain PCBs will be labeled with a sticker. Ballasts without labels must be disposed as hazardous waste. While non-PCB ballasts can be disposed in the garbage, it is environmentally preferable to recycle them as scrap metal; see listing below. Do not put ballasts in the curbside recycling cart.
What to do with broken fluorescent lamps?
- Open a window and leave the room for 15 minutes or more.
- Turn off central heat/air conditioning.
- Collect the pieces using a stiff piece of paper, such as an index card.
- Pat the area with the sticky side of packing tape to remove glass shards.
- Put all material into a sealed container.
- Broken bulbs are accepted with the Agency’s Hazardous Waste programs
For additional recommendations when a CFL or other mercury-containing bulb breaks, visit the US EPA’s Mercury in Your Environment website.
Disposal for PCB-ballasts with the Agency’s Hazardous Waste programs
1. Dispose of spent fluorescent bulbs through the Agency's Hazardous Waste programs: for residents and businesses
See Commercial HHW Facility
See Household Hazardous Waste Collection Events
2. See mail-back and pick up recycling options below
See Batteries - Household
See County Refuse Disposal Sites
See Lights - Fluorescent bulbs, lamps, and ballasts
See Lights - Holiday string lights
See Light - Incandescent bulbs
See Free E-waste Event Calendar Zero Waste Sonoma has partnered with Conservation Corps North Bay to host free electronics recycling events. No appointment is necessary for these events. All events will be held in the parking lot.