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Cleaning-up a Broken Fluorescent Bulb

Fluorescent bulbs must be handled carefully and disposed of properly. When broken a fluorescent bulb is a hazard to people and the environment. Step-by-step guide to cleaning up a broken fluorescent bulb


Educational Videos

Please enjoy our educational video series (Coming Soon)

  • Guidelines for broken bulb clean-up

  • Recycling fluorescent lamps

  • Inside and LED lamp

  • Inside a ballast


Regulatory Landscape

Due to the new Federal Environmental Protection Agency's regulation on lamps, which went into effect on January 6th, 2000, most non-residential facilities are now required by law to properly dispose of their lamps. Landfills are increasingly intolerant of lamps from non-residential sources due to the amount of mercury found in each lamp. Lamps later found in landfills are subject to retroactive clean-up costs under CERCLA. Recycling of the lamp components is the recommended method of disposal by the Environmental Protection Agency and helps to minimize facility liability.

Many states have adopted stricter regulations governing the improper disposal of universal waste. 




Fluorescent Facts

Joining the mass movement to clean up our environment, National Bulb Recycling has developed a recycling program for all mercury containing lamps or bulbs. Beneath the glass casing, fluorescent lamps contain from 5 to 50 mg. of mercury, usually exceeding the EPA’s regulatory 2mg./liter threshold. Lamp recycling captures this mercury so that it does not pollute our environment. 


Health Risks of Mercury

Although mercury is a very useful element with many unique properties and applications, it poses a very real health risk. We can minimize this risk by reducing our use of mercury-containing products and properly disposing of mercury-containing waste.


Large amounts of mercury become airborne when coal, oil, wood, or natural gases are burned as fuel or when mercury-containing garbage is incinerated. Once on the air, mercury can fall to the ground with rain and snow, landing on soil or in bodies of water, causing contamination. Lakes and rivers are also contaminated when there is a direct discharge of mercury-laden industrial and municipal waste into these water bodies. Once present, mercury accumulates in the tissue of fish and other organisms and may ultimately reach the dinner table.

Recycling Resources

Environmental Protection Agency


US Department of Energy


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