What we call a light bulb, is referred to as a lamp by the lighting industry. Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are low energy light bulbs. They use up to 80% less energy than old fashioned incandescent bulbs, but to do this, they need a small amount of mercury which is why they can’t be thrown away in your bin.
The typical amount of mercury in a florescent lamp is between 1.2 to 4mg, and in a domestic compact florescent lamp (CFL) this equates to the tip of a ballpoint pen.
The mercury in one CFL is not enough to pose a health risk but they do need to be disposed of responsibly to reduce the risk of large quantities of mercury ending up in landfill. In Europe the collection and recycling of fluorescent lamps is compulsory under the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive
Compact LED bulbs can look very similar to CFLs, this means you can change to LEDs without having to change your light fittings.
Halogen and incandescent light bulbs
Halogen and incandescent light bulbs are no longer on sale, they are also not covered by the WEEE regulations. However, a few are still in circulation.
A consumer survey told us that many find it hard to tell the difference between these and LEDs. Therefore, to make sure as many light bulbs as possible get recycled, they can all be placeg in the same container for all types of compact lamps.
If we all recycle we can protect our environment, and the mercury, glass and metal can be reused.
Recycling light fittings
What consumers refer to as lightbulbs, the industry term is lamps, and what consumers refer to as a lamp, is called a light fitting!
All light fittings can be recycled along with small electrical items.
You can recycle
and Christmas lights
Take care to remove light bulbs and batteries from your lamp.
How we recycle
Have a look at How we Recycle to learn about the recycling process for lighting.
Recycling compact light bulbs
You will find the Recolight Bulbstore Maxi outdoors at your
local council bring site and recycling areas of retail car parks.
Recycling compact light bulbs and fluorescent tubes
At Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC) head to
the Electronic Waste area where you will find containers.
Some may look like this, but a variety of containers are used.
They will all be clearly labelled for recycling your low energy light bulbs.