How to Dispose of Light Bulbs

Light Bulb - Black Background

When it comes to disposing of light bulbs there are a few things you need to know, fundamentally what types of light bulb you are trying to get rid of. Once you know the type of bulb you are trying to dispose, you can then work out how to get rid of it. Make sure you dispose of light bulbs in the correct way with some old light bulbs containing harmful chemicals.

What Types of Light Bulbs are There?

Light bulbs come in a few types, mainly based around how they illuminate and what materials the bulbs contain. Light bulb types include:

  • Standard incandescent light bulbs: These are the most common domestic light bulbs you will find in UK households, where a wire filament is heated until it glows.

  • Halogen bulbs: These are very similar to the incandescent light bulbs however the halogen light bulbs contain inert gas and a small amounts of halogen.

  • Energy efficient light bulbs: These bulbs are also called Compact Fluorescent lamps and work by an electric current passing through a tube containing gas

  • LED light bulbs: It stands for Light emitting diode, these bulbs produce light via semiconductors called diodes.

  • Fluorescent tubes: The tubes omit light when an electrical current provokes chemical reactions with the chemicals in the tube.

How to Dispose of Incandescent Light Bulb?

Incandescent bulbs can be disposed of in your normal household waste bin. Incandescent light bulbs cannot be recycled and should not be put into glass recycling as they contain fine wires.

How to Dispose of Halogen Bulbs?

Halogen bulbs can also be disposed of in your general waste bin with regular household waste. You should not recycle halogen light bulbs.

How to Dispose of Energy Efficient Light Bulbs

Energy saving light bulbs cannot be put in your general waste bin. Compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL bulbs) contain harmful substances and therefore seen as hazardous waste. Energy saving bulbs should be recycled. The best way to dispose of energy saving light bulbs is to take them to your local recycling centre. Most recycling centres will accept energy efficient light bulbs but it is best to check with your nearest recycling point.

How to Dispose of LED Bulbs

LED bulbs can be thrown away with regular rubbish in your black bin as they do not contain nay hazardous substances, however they can also be recycled. So if you can, look to recycle the light bulbs, they contain valuable materials like metal components and valuable parts which can be reused.

How to Dispose of Fluorescent tubes

Fluorescent tubes must not be put in with your household rubbish. They contain hazardous materials and if broken will release harmful substances, like mercury, into the environment. Fluorescent tubes must be recycled.

Can Light Bulbs be Put in a Skip?

If you are looking to hire a skip, you may want to dispose of old light bulbs in it. General rule of thumb is to not put fluorescent tubes in a skip or compact fluorescent light bulbs. All other light bulbs can be put into a skip. 

Summary - How to Dispose of Light Bulbs?

First identify the types of light bulb you are trying to dispose of they are:

  • Standard incandescent light bulbs

  • Halogen bulbs

  • Energy saving light bulb

  • LED light bulbs

  • Fluorescent tubes

Then look to dispose of them correctly, incandescent bulbs and halogen light bulbs can be binned in the general waste. All other light bulbs need to be recycled.

Author: Spencer Murphy

Date: 5/1/2023

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