Reduce It: How to Eliminate Old Light Bulbs

Reduce It: How to Eliminate Old Light Bulbs

For the sake of our health and the health of the planet, it’s a good idea to pause before throwing anything questionable in the trash — or the recycling, for that matter. Light bulbs are among these items that can be difficult to eliminate. It is dependent upon the kind of light bulb you’ve got. Some can be thrown away, some can be put in the recycling bin, and some require additional special treatment. Read on to determine what kind of bulbs you have in your house, and what you should do when they have burnt out.

Incandescent bulbs: For several years these are the most common light bulbs for home use. They are made out of a thin metallic filament, which is lit by electricity. The bulbs are usually a vacuum or filled with an inert gas. While they are pretty simple, incandescent bulbs aren’t energy efficient. Virtually all the energy put into these bulbs is transferred into heat, rather than light.

Regrettably, most cities now do not take incandescent light bulbs at their recycling facilities. Call your regional municipal recycling center to check. But since these bulbs do not contain any poisonous materials, chances are that you may have to just throw these burnt-out bulbs into the trash. Some people today suggest placing the bulbs into their original packaging or a small plastic bag before throwing them away, so the glass will not shatter and hurt someone.

Of course, you can always try to reuse your light bulbs. If they are not broken, you can earn an ornament or any number of DIY crafts using a light bulb. Browse online for ideas such as this miniature vase.


Indoor/Outdoor Halogen Flood Light Bulb

bulbs: These lights are a variation of incandescent bulbs. Like incandescent bulbs, these bulbs are lit by a filament, which is in a tube with halogen gas. Halogen lights are somewhat more effective than standard incandescent bulbs, but maybe not by much. These bulbs can also get very hot — hot enough to burn someone — and therefore are weakened greatly from natural oils (such as those in your hands).

And like incandescent bulbs, there are not many recycling opportunities for halogen bulbs. Fortunately, neither contains toxic materials, in the event you have to put them in the trash.

GE Reveal CFL Light Bulb – $9.99

Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs): These spiral light bulbs have become popular over the last several decades, mainly because of their comparatively inexpensive price and the large quantity of energy they save. They produce very little heat — therefore almost all of the energy is put into the light output. These bulbs are usually utilized instead of incandescents, and have a tiny quantity of mercury. Since mercury is a toxin, it means that specific care needs to be removed when recycling these.

In some countries, such as California, it’s illegal to throw CFLs into the trash or the recycling bin. Try checking with your regional garbage and recycling center to find out whether they’ve a CFL disposal service. When they don’t, indicate they get you! Your town or city may have a drop off location for CFLs, therefore give your city or town hall a call, too.Some large retailers — such as Home Depot and IKEA — offer CFL recycling solutions for bulbs bought through them. If none of these choices are available for you, visit or even to find other ways to securely eliminate a CFL bulb.


SPARSAM Compact twin tube – $6.99

Fluorescent: The tubular fluorescent lights are most often utilized in overhead lighting in offices. CFLs are basically compact versions of these lights, therefore tubular fluorescent bulbs also contain mercury, and have to be disposed of in precisely the same manner as a CFL bulb.

LED Light Bulbs & Fixtures

LED: These more modern light bulbs are created without a filament. They consume very little power and have a much longer lifetime than incandescent lights or CFL lights. They do not create as much heat as an incandescent bulb, and unlike CFLs, they do not use any harmful compounds. To top it off, LED lights are extremely energy efficient — 95% of the energy they use is interpreted into light.

Very similar to incandescent lights, LED lights do not include any dangerous compounds, so they can be disposed of in precisely the same manner as incandescent or halogen bulbs. But most LED lights these days are made out of materials that are all recyclable. Examine the package your bulb came into affirm, but chances are you can just toss your LED bulb in the recycling once it’s consumed.

Light bulb tips:ensure the bulbs in your house will continue as long as you can — turn off lights in any area that is not being used. It sounds easy, but the quantity of energy (and money) it can save is pretty impressive. Reduce the use of inefficient incandescent bulbs into your own household. Wait until they’re burnt out, and replace them with CFL or LED bulbs. If you are taking CFL bulbs into a recycling center, shipping them to a recycling facility, or leaving them for a ceremony to recycle, make sure you wrap each bulb up carefully in bubble wrap or newspaper. You do not want the bulbs to break midway through the trip and flow mercury.
More Lose Its:
Things to Do with Leftover Building Materials
How to Eliminate a Mattress
How to Reuse, Recycle, or Replace Your Sofa

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