Image Credit: Alberto Sanchez
If you use modern low energy light bulbs, you may not need to dispose of them very often, but if you do, how can you ensure that they are disposed of in a safe and environmentally friendly way?
Low energy light bulbs are pretty much completely recyclable. If you take them for recycling they are broken up, the elemental mercury and phosphor powder are removed and then the metal and glass can also be recycled.
Since these bulbs contain mercury you really don't want them to go to landfill so they should NOT be put in your waste bin.
Low energy lightbulbs should be taken to your local household recycling centre. There are however many locations around the country where you can also take them for recycling, for example you can take them into branches of Robert Dyas and many supermarkets collect them for recycling as well.
An organisation called Recolight collect light bulbs for recycling with a network of collection points for both households and businesses. Visit recolight.co.uk/free-recycling/ to find your nearest collection point. Collection points include household recycling centres, some council offices and selected branches of Robert Dyas, Tesco and Sainsburys.
Currys PC World will also accept all types of lightbulbs for recycling.
Fluorescent Tubes, the sort mainly used in strip lighting in schools and offices, are recyclable and can only be taken to Household recycling centres for domestic disposal.
Commercial organisations can dispose of them via Recolight at their commercial collection points.
They cannot be put in with glass recycling, as they are the wrong type of glass, and should be taken to your household recycling centre.