How to properly dispose of different light bulbs: incandescent, CFL/fluorescent, halogen, LED

How you can best dispose of lighting waste depends on two things: a) the type of lighting and b) the amount of lighting waste you or your organisation needs to dispose of.

Let’s start with what to do with smaller (household or small business) quantities of lighting waste.

How to dispose of incandescent light bulbs

These old-style light globes can safely be disposed of in your normal rubbish.

For safety, wrap in newspaper or other packaging material before putting old incandescent light globes into your waste bin.

However, it is becoming easier to recycle incandescent light bulbs. Many council offices and waste depots will accept incandescent light globes for recycling, as do all IKEA stores, so please consider recycling before opting for the bin.

How to dispose of compact fluorescent lamps and fluorescent tubes

Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and fluorescent tubes contain small amounts of mercury, which is an environmental and health hazard.

For this reason alone, fluorescent lighting should not be disposed of in your household rubbish.

Check with your local council about where you can leave different types of lighting for recycling.

For example, you may be able to leave CFLs at council offices but need to take fluorescent tubes to a waste depot.

IKEA also collects CFLs for recycling.

How to dispose of halogen lighting

As a form of incandescent lighting halogen lamps can be put in your normal rubbish bin.

However, they can be recycled, so check with your council or recycling centre if they accept halogen lighting.

How to dispose of LED lighting

These long-life, low energy globes are the new kids on the block.

Again, they can be safely dropped in the rubbish bin, but that’s a waste of valuable materials.

Check with your council if LED lamps are on their list of recyclables and where they can be left.

If your council doesn’t accept lighting waste for recycling, to see if there are alternative lighting recycling options available in your area.

Remember: no type of lighting should be placed in your household recycling bin. And if you are taking your old lighting waste to the recycling centre, don’t forget to take your spent batteries, too.

While it may be safe to dispose of many types of lighting in your rubbish bin, there’s a clear trend to recycling.

Victoria, for example, will ban the dumping of all e-waste (which includes lighting waste) in landfill from July 2019. South Australia already prohibits the disposal of fluorescent lighting in landfill.

Recycling is the only safe, responsible alternative.

What about large quantities of lighting waste?

Need to safely dispose of box loads and bin loads of lighting waste? It’s surprisingly easy.

While much of our focus is on safely recycling mercury-containing lighting, we also recycle large quantities of halogen lights and incandescent light bulbs. In fact, we can safely recycle all your lighting waste.

If your organisation generates commercial quantities of lighting waste, get on board the recycling bandwagon.

Simply fill out the form below, or call us on 1300 32 62 92 and one of our lighting waste specialists will explain how it all works.


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