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How to dispose of energy-saving bulbs

Energy efficient light bulbs are as easy to use as incandescent light bulbs. However, when they stop functioning, they require some special attention.


How to dispose of compact fluorescent lamps and light emitting diode lamps?

These lamps contain complex electronics and should not be placed in the normal household waste. This is indicated by the crossed-out bin logo. They should be returned to one of the shops selling them or into any other dedicated collection system for waste electronic equipment (depending on the country you are in).

Packaging logo – not in standard waste (WEEE logo)


What to do when a compact fluorescent lamp breaks?

Unlike LED lamps and most other lamp technologies used in households, compact fluorescent lamps do contain mercury. No mercury is released when the bulbs are intact (not broken) or in use. If the bulb breaks, a maximum of 5 milligrams of mercury may be released (around the size of the ink-spot on the tip of a ballpoint pen). By comparison, older thermometers contain about 500 milligrams of mercury.

Consumers are advised to air the room before cleaning the lamp with a wet cloth. Skin contact with debris should be avoided and no vacuum cleaner should be used for the cleanup.

  • Buying CFLs with an outer non-breakable lamp envelope is a way to address the issue of mercury leakage in case of accidental lamp breakage.
  • Consumers can also choose alternative technologies such as improved incandescent bulbs with halogen technology or LED bulbs, which do not contain mercury.