Never Throw in the Garbage
Fluorescent light bulbs contain mercury, which is a hazard for your health and the environment. Never throw them away. Store them outside in a sealed container, and dispose of them as hazardous waste.
Air Out Room if Bulb Breaks
Broken CFL bulbs can release mercury vapor. If one breaks, clear people and pets out of the room, and then air it out for five to ten minutes. To stop the vapor from spreading, also shut off the heat, ventilation and air-conditioning.
Avoid Vacuuming if Possible
Don’t use a vacuum to clean up because this can spread the mercury powder from a broken CFL bulb. Instead, sweep up broken pieces with cardboard or paper. If there are any leftover shards of glass, use a piece of tape to pick them up.
Identifying a CFL Bulb
If you are unsure if your bulb is CFL, check if your bulb is listed with these other CFL bulbs: linear, U-tube and circline fluorescent tubes, bug zappers, tanning bulbs, black lights, germicidal bulbs, high output bulbs and cold-cathode fluorescent bulbs.
Alternative Ways to Recycle
Recycle at Lowe's
Recycle at Home Depot
Home Depot accepts CFL bulbs for recycling, though not all locations accept fluorescent tubes or LED light bulbs. Call ahead if you are trying to dispose of a fluorescent tube or LED bulb.
Batteries Plus Bulbs Recycling Services
Find a CFL Recycler
Use this search tool by RecycleABulb.com to find a CFL bulb recycler close to you.
There are a number of organizations that sell mail-back kits for fluorescent and CFL light bulbs. The cost of each kit includes shipping charges. Check out this list of programs on the EPA’s website to get started.