Old used light bulbs are a common waste item produced by businesses and homes. When light bulbs have burned out, it's important for them to be disposed of properly. The way that a light bulb is disposed of depends on the bulb's design and what kind of materials the bulb contains. Some light bulbs are easier to dispose of than others.

Wondering can you throw light bulbs in the trash? We can help. Here's what to know about light bulb disposal.

Can You Throw Light Bulbs in the Trash?

Some light bulbs are safe to throw away in the trash, because they contain no materials that are harmful to the environment. An example of this are the incandescent bulbs that were used in homes and businesses for years.

Some other types of light bulbs should not be thrown away in the trash. These light bulbs need to be recycled.

Often, these light bulbs contain materials that need to be safely disposed of to prevent the bulbs from leaking toxic material into the environment. Tube lights (fluorescent lighting) are an example of bulbs that need to be recycled.

Why Recycle Light Bulbs?

Recycling light bulbs is good for the environment because it helps keep toxic materials out of the soil. Some light bulbs contain mercury, which can poison the soil, affecting people and plants.

In addition, you should recycle light bulbs because this ensures the materials the light bulbs are made of can be re-used. Materials from light bulbs can be used to make more light bulbs or other common items. How the materials are re-used depends on what kind of light bulb is being recycled.

Which Light Bulbs Can Be Recycled?

Light bulbs that can (and should) be recycled include CFL bulbs, tube lights and LED lights. CFL bulbs contain mercury that can contaminate the soil. Tube lights (also called fluorescent lights) also contain mercury.

LED lights contain tiny microchips and small amounts of arsenic and lead. You can recycle these types of bulbs by first collecting them in a container that's safe for recycling, then by taking the bulbs to a recycling center when you've accumulated enough of them.

If You Want to Recycle Light Bulbs, Where Can You Do It?

Finding a recycling center near you to recycle your light bulbs is easy. You can contact your local sanitation department to find out whether they accept light bulbs for recycling.

Often, community sanitation departments require light bulbs to be separately taken to a recycling center instead of placed in standard recycling bins. If this is the case for you, you'll need to find out where the local light bulb recycling center is located. Call your sanitation department for this information.

How Do You Collect Light Bulbs for Recycling?

Collecting light bulbs for recycling needs to be done carefully, as light bulbs are very breakable.

Choose the right containers for the job. Trash Cans Warehouse sells a range of recycling bins that can help your business store recycling until it's taken to the recycling center. We also sell trash can and recycling can two-stream and three-stream waste disposal centers, for businesses that need to present multiple waste disposal options.

Need a quote? Contact us to get started.