Lights - Fluorescent bulbs, lamps, and ballasts

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

About ballasts:
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 and therefor containing PCBs must be disposed as hazardous waste. Non-PCB ballasts should be recycled due to the heavy metals inside and can also be taken to the HHW facility. 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 Household 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.

Dispose of PCB-ballasts with the Agency’s Household Hazardous Waste programs

1. Drop-off CFLs and other kinds of fluorescent lamps at participating retailers: for residents

See list below

2. Dispose of spent fluorescent bulbs through the Agency's Hazardous Waste programs: for residents and businesses

Household Hazardous Waste Collection Events
Household Hazardous Waste Rover Pickup Service
Household Hazardous Waste Facility

3. Mail-back and pick up recycling options: for businesses

See Lights - Fluorescent lamps and ballasts (business only)

Related topics:

See Lights - Holiday string lights
See Light - Incandescent bulbs

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Location pin Batteries + Bulbs Petaluma

313 N McDowell Blvd
Petaluma, CA 94952

NotesDrop-off and fee: CFLs, tubes 4-feet maximum length, U-Shaped lamps.

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Cost CFLs (.66 each), Tubes ( .69 per lineal foot), U-Bend Florescent (.58 each). Updated 10/24/19.

Location pin eWaste Sonoma

3227 Santa Rosa Ave, Unit A
Santa Rosa, CA 95407

NotesDrop-off and fee: visit website for instructions.

For items accepted and not accepted, including fee items, see list

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Location pin Household Hazardous Waste Facility (HHW Facility)

500 Mecham Rd
Petaluma, CA 94952

NotesDrop-off: accepts up to 15 gallons of liquid (with a maximum of 5 gallons per container) or 125 pounds of solid material.

Location pin Lowe's Home Improvement Cotati

7921 Redwood Dr.
Cotati, CA 94931

NotesDrop-off: CFLs and 4-foot lamp only; store customers only, limit 6 per day.

Location pin Sebastopol Hardware Center

660 Gravenstein Hwy., North
Sebastopol, CA 95472

NotesDrop-off and fee: CFLs and 4-foot lamps only. Residents only, no businesses.

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