Compact fluorescent (CFL) light bulbs are great energy-efficient options and an easy way
to positively impact the environment because they use, on average, 75% less energy than
incandescent light bulbs. While they tend to be a higher price than the standard incandescent
bulb, CFL bulbs last up to ten times longer and can save you even more money over the
life of the light bulb.
However, proper recycling of CFL bulbs after they've burnt out is a must. Each CFL bulb
contains about four milligrams of mercury, a very poisonous heavy metal that is harmful
to both human health and the environment. While that small amount of mercury may not seem
like a lot, it is more than enough to contaminate the environment. That includes the soil,
plants, animals and even people in surrounding areas. In fact, it is estimated that it takes
only one ounce of mercury to contaminate a 20-acre lake for a lifetime.
CFL bulbs aren't the only light bulbs that should be recycled. The standard fluorescent
tubes found in office buildings, hospitals, etc. also contain mercury and should be recycled.
Additionally, high-intensity discharge (HID) bulbs should be properly disposed of because
they also contain mercury; that includes both metal halide and high-pressure sodium bulbs.
For a complete listing of where you can recycle bulbs in your area,
the EPA website recycling pages or