Recycling Household CFLs

Publication Type:
Fact Sheet

Published / Updated:

Since the 1940s, consumers have installed fluorescent lighting in their garages, kitchens, bathrooms, utility rooms, and recreation rooms. In the 1980s, lamp manufacturers developed a smaller, compact version of the fluorescent lamp, know as CFL, as an alternative to incandescent bulbs.

Fluorescent lamps, including CFLs, are substantially more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs, which lose most of their energy to heat, and CFLs require 70 to 80% less electricity to operate.

CFLs, like all fluorescent lamps, contain a small amount of mercury. Studies indicate that long-term exposure to large amounts of mercury vapor can pose health risks. While the risk of CFLs is difficult to quantify, is is generally agreed that lamps should be handled carefully and managed properly at time of disposal.

Download this document to learn about:

  • How much mercury is in a CFL?
  • How using CFLs reduces mercury emmissions from power plants
  • Lamp disposal versus lamp recycling
  • Lamp recycling options
  • Collection of CFLs by the manufacturer

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