How To Dispose of Energy-Efficient Flourescent Lightbulbs

- As energy-efficient compact fluorescent lightbulbs become more popular, it's important to be aware that you should never throw them in the garbage when they finally burnout.

Many people across Greater Binghamton have started switching to energy efficient light bulbs due to the value they hold.

While they can save you money in the long run, it's important to know how to properly dispose of them.

Brian Donnelly is Broome County's Solids and Hazardous Waste Technician.

"Any type of florescent light bulb, because it contains mercury in it, it needs to be taken to a facility so it can be recycled. We clean the mercury out of it and keep the mercury out of the environment," said Donnelly.

The Broome County Landfill accepts the florescent light bulbs as well as a range of other products you shouldn't just throw away at its Hazardous Household Waste and Electronics Recycling collection days.

"Your oil based paints, any kind of paint related liquids, pesticides, herbicides, pool chemicals, cleaning chemicals, all those types of things can come to our household hazardous waste collections," said Donnelly.

While you can drop the bulbs off at the Broome County Landfill on specific days, The Home Depot and Lowes also have areas where you can recycle them, although they don't take the four to eight foot bulbs.

They have to be taken to the landfill.

When swapping out your light bulbs, it is important that you handle them carefully.

Donnelly suggests that you put a drop cloth beneath the light for easy pick up if a bulb breaks.

"The best thing to do if you do break one is to take a damp cloth to wipe up as much of the debris as you can, put it in a plastic bag and then you can bring it up to the hazardous waste facility," said Donnelly.

If you need to get rid of older or normal style incandescent light bulbs, you can just throw those away.

The next Hazardous Waste and Electronics Recycling day at the landfill will be Wednesday July 2nd from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m.

You can find a full schedule of drop-off times at and click on Solid Waste Management.

There is a $5 charge if you drop off the lightbulbs and other hazardous waste on non-specified recycling days.

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