Fluorescent lights must be recycled because they contain mercury. It is illegal to throw them in the trash. Find a hardware store or business that accepts fluorescent lights for recycling.
Place bulbs in their original packaging to prevent breakage. If you no longer have the original packaging, cushion bulbs using blankets, towels or newspaper. Do not tape bulbs together.
Broken fluorescent light bulbs: The occasional broken CFL will not affect your health; however, broken CFLs do need to be cleaned up properly. Learn how to clean up Broken CFLs on the Minnesota Department of Health website.
See restrictions and instructions below:
Fluorescent light bulbs of all shapes and sizes, including circles, compact fluorescent bulbs, tubes and u-shaped; high intensity discharge (HID) bulbs.
Hennepin County also accepts broken fluorescent bulbs -- place the broken pieces in a sealed plastic bag first.
25 bulbs per household per 12 month period
Separate bulbs and ballasts from fixtures before coming to the drop-off facility. Staff will not separate the ballasts from light fixtures for you.
No incandescent or halogen lights.
No fluorescent light bulbs used for business purposes, including home businesses and property managers.
Find fluorescent light bulbs recycling options for businesses on p.2 of Hazardous Waste Disposal Companies (PDF).
Both LED and compact fluorescent lights bulbs use less energy than incandescent light bulbs. There are many lighting options available today. Learn about lighting options on the Minnesota Clean Energy Resource Team’s Right Light Guide.
For information about storing and transporting fluorescent light bulbs, see guidelines for household hazardous waste.