Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs)
Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), and other lamps such as linear fluorescent and high intensity discharge (HID) lamps contain a very small amount of mercury, an element essential to the function of these lamp types. The mercury is contained within the lamp and is not exposed to the environment unless the lamp is broken at the end of its life. The release of mercury is most likely to occur when the lamp is thrown in a garbage truck or a dumpster.LEARN MORE ABOUT RESIDENTIAL BROKEN BULBS
Fluorescents, particularly CFLs, are energy efficient and have helped businesses and households achieve dramatic cuts in energy usage. The current generation of higher efficiency Light Emitted Diode (LED) lamps – which are mercury free – has gradually displaced the older mercury-added lamps in most lighting applications. It is important, however, that any product containing mercury be managed properly when it reaches the end of life to help protect the environment.LEARN MORE ABOUT COMMERCIAL RECYCLING
US Environmental Protection Agency
The best way to prevent mercury releases from lamps is to recycle them so they do not become part of the solid waste stream. Recycling lamps ensure the mercury is captured for reuse or safe containment and disposal. Easy and convenient options exist for both businesses and consumers to recycle waste mercury-added lamps.
US Federal law contains special regulations for large generators of mercury-containing lamps that serve to eliminate excessive paperwork, alleviate transport issues, and help keep disposal costs low, all of which eases the path for lamp recycling. Several states also have laws in place that require mercury-added lamps to be recycled.LEARN MORE ABOUT RECYCLING BY STATE