Why Is It Important to Recycle Light Bulbs?

Sep 27, 2022

Recycling is a good practice for any home or business. Recycling minimizes waste, is good for the planet, and doesn’t require much effort. Many people don’t know that light bulbs can be recycled, so they just throw them in the trash. However, there are several reasons why it is important to recycle light bulbs.

Lightbulbs Contain Harmful Mercury and Phosphor

Some light bulbs, like compact fluorescent lights, contain mercury. Although harmless when used in homes and businesses, it’s different when these bulbs end up in a landfill. As light bulbs break down or are crushed in a landfill, mercury can seep into the ground and contaminate our soil and groundwater.

In addition, fluorescent bulbs and tubes also contain phosphor, which can become toxic if concentrated in large quantities. Everyone must do their part to keep these harmful chemicals out of our landfills and away from our environment.

When you recycle your lightbulbs, you ensure that they are properly disposed of and that these chemicals are handled and stored securely.

Reduce Landfill Waste

As a general rule of thumb, it’s always better to recycle than to throw an item in a landfill. Many people simply don’t know that lightbulbs can and should be recycled. Any space that we can save in a landfill is a worthwhile effort, and landfills should be reserved for refuse that is truly unusable.

Materials in Bulbs Can Be Reused

Recycling your light bulbs doesn’t just mean that they are disposed of safely, but it also lets their raw materials be reused. When bulbs are recycled, they are crushed, and their components are separated.

The mercury and phosphor are safely disposed of, while the glass and metal can be used again for a new lightbulb or another material. Recycling these materials reduces energy use, minimizes waste, and is better for the environment. Just like you recycle your tin cans and bottles so they can be repurposed, you should be recycling your light bulbs.

How to Recycle Your Light Bulbs

When it comes to light bulb recycling, unfortunately, there is no single solution. For example, halogen light bulbs can be recycled, but not in a typical glass recycling center. They must be recycled in a suitable recycling center, which not all communities have.

In Sioux Falls, the City’s Household Hazardous Waste Facility accepts light bulbs for recycling, but only from residents in the 5-county area. Businesses and other residents must recycle directly with a professional service.

Trust SEAM for Light Bulb Recycling

SEAM has been in the asset management and recycling business for years. We have helped countless businesses in South Dakota and North Dakota recycle a variety of materials, including light bulbs. When you recycle with us, you’ll have total peace of mind that your items are recycled properly and safely.

Whether you need a one-time pickup or a regular pickup schedule, we can help. Contact us to get started.

SEAM provides IT recycling and data destruction services including onsite shredding and hard drive wiping to South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska.

Schedule a pickup or contact us for more information.