CFLs should be recycled in hazardous waste facilities and are not accepted in curbside recycling programs. To recycle CFLs in hazardous waste facilities, there are many different drop-off programs provided by municipalities and hardware stores. Once CFLs are brought to a drop-off location they will be sent to a hazardous waste facility where they can be recycled safely. The components of the CFLs are recycled and can be reused to make new products. The mercury can be reused in new light bulbs, the aluminum becomes scrap metal and the glass can be used to make concrete.
CFL light bulbs must be recycled through a hazardous waste program because they contain mercury. With only 4 milligrams of mercury, CFLs are harmless unless they are broken. If a CFL is disposed of in a landfill and breaks the mercury can leak into landfills and contaminate soil and/or waterways. Properly recycling CFLs through a hazardous waste program allow materials to be reused and prevents toxic contamination.
“How to Recycle CFLs.” Earth 911. http://earth911.com/recycling-guide/how-to-recycle-cfls/. Accessed July 23, 2017.