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How to Dispose of CFLs

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RECYCLING AND DISPOSAL GUIDELINES

Each compact fluorescent light bulb contains trace amounts – or an average of 4 milligrams – of mercury, which makes it an efficient light source. No mercury is released when the bulbs are intact or in use. However, it is important to properly recycle and dispose of these products.

 

Burnt-Out Bulb Disposal

• Recycle them via Bremer County Sanitary Landfill.
• Seal the bulb in two plastic bags and place in the outside trash.
• Never send a fluorescent light bulb or any other
mercury-containing product to an incinerator.

Broken Bulb Disposal

If a compact fluorescent light bulb breaks or shatters, keep people and pets away and shut off heating or air conditioning system. Air out the room for at least 15 minutes, and follow these steps to ensure safe cleanup:
 

Hard Surface

  • Scoop up glass fragments and powder using stiff paper, cardboard, sticky tape, or damp wipes, and place them in a glass jar with a metal lid or in a sealed, plastic bag.
  • Do not use a vacuum or broom to clean up the broken bulb on hard surfaces.

 

Carpeting

  • Scoop up glass fragments and powder using stiff paper, cardboard, sticky tape, or damp wipes, and place them in a glass jar with a metal lid or in a sealed, plastic bag.
  • Vacuum if needed. Then, remove the vacuum bag, seal it in a plastic bag, and throw away.

 

Clothing and Bedding

  • Throw away all clothing or bedding that comes into direct contact with broken glass or mercury-containing powder from a CFL. Do not wash it, as fragments may contaminate the washing machine and pollute sewage water.
  • Clothing or bedding exposed to CFL vapors during cleanup may be washed.
  • For shoes that come into direct contact with a broken CFL bulb, wipe them with damp paper towels or wipes, seal the towels in a plastic bag or glass jar, and throw away.

 Cleanup Materials

  • Place all cleanup materials outdoors in a trash container or protected area.
  • Wash your hands after disposing of jars or plastic bags containing cleanup materials.