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About Lamp Recycle

On behalf of lighting manufacturers, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) developed to provide a one-stop source of information about recycling mercury-added “lamps” – the traditional industry term for light bulbs. 

You can identify these lamps by the “Hg” symbol on the lamp – the universally recognized chemical symbol for mercury.

HG, Lamp contains mercury. Manage in accordance with disposal laws. See or 1-800-xxx-xxxx

All fluorescent and most high intensity discharge lamps contain a small amount of mercury, a natural occurring element that is critical for the function of these lamps. Because exposure to certain types of mercury can be harmful, it is important for public health and the environment that lamps be managed properly at the end of life.

Lamp users must be aware of US Federal and state hazardous and universal waste requirements for managing spent lamps. These requirements can differ depending on who generates the spent lamps, whether the lamp qualifies as a hazardous waste, and the state in which the user resides.  Even if exempt from spent lamp management regulations, NEMA encourages all businesses and consumers to recycle their spent lamps.

This website contains…

  • Information about Federal and state regulatory spent lamp management requirements, along with contact information for relevant state agencies, and
  • Lists of companies that are in the business of handling and recycling spent lamps. NEMA does not endorse or recommend any company involved in such businesses and encourages users to environmentally audit any firm that they employ for assistance in managing spent lamps.

Users should understand that lamp recycling is not self-supporting. Spent lamps have no reusable components or embodied energy and the recovered mercury has minimal value. The user’s cost of recycling lamps, however, can be partially offset by cost savings from using energy efficient lighting. Generally, fluorescent lamps are four to five times more efficient than incandescent bulbs, which helps lower energy costs. Reducing energy use also cuts down on power plant emissions of mercury and other emissions that contribute to global climate change, acid rain, and smog.

NEMA encourages state officials to contact if they place new material regarding lamp recycling on their websites. Please send any updated information to