How to Dispose of a CFL?

Q: How can I safely dispose of a CFL bulb?


Compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs are fantastic energy savers but they contain up to 5 milligrams of mercury, which is hazardous to the environment if improperly discarded. Here are ways to safely dispose of CFL bulbs.

Several big retailers offer CFL bulbs disposal programs

  • Home Depot. Consumer CFL recycling program has been offered since 2008. Simply take your used, unbroken CFLs bulbs, place them in a plastic bag and deposit both into orange collection units.
  • IKEA. The CFL recycling service is available at the returns and exchanges area.
  • Lowe’s. Offers CFL recycling since 2010. The bins are located near the entrance of Lowe’s stores.
  • Ace Hardware Stores. CFL recycling program is offered at selected locations. Not all stores may be equipped to accept CFL bulbs, so ensure you inquire with your local store if your can bring your used CFL bulbs.
  • Menards. Offers CFL recycling at all stores.
  • Orchard Supply. All stores in California are taking used CFL bulbs.
  • Walmart and Target offer only periodical CFL recycling, until direct and more convenient way for customers to recycle the bulbs is provided.

Other options for CFL disposal

  • Earth 911 is a great resource to locate your local CFL recycling programs.
  • Contact your local waste service and ask if they offer CFL bulb recycling.

If none of the above options work for you, avoid disposing of CFLs in a household trash because the bulbs will end up in a local landfill. Instead, place CFLs in a plastic bag and store them in a cardboard box until recycling becomes available in your area.


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