Washington State University
Environmental Health & Safety Light Bulb Recycling

What should I do with my old light bulbs?

Burnt out light tubes (T-8, T-12, etc.). compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), high intensity discharge (HID) bulbs and high pressure sodium (HPS) bulbs must be collected for recycling. The light bulbs are recycled to recover the aluminum, phosphor, mercury and glass. WSU’s Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) program accepts all light bulbs for recycling from university equipment and departments at no charge.

Most light bulbs are collected by Facilities Services and managed by EH&S.  However, if your department manages their own light bulbs they can be collected two ways.  EH&S will provide aproperly labeled container where spent light bulbs may be placed. EH&S will periodically remove light bulbs and ensure container is properly labeled and maintained.  If your department does not want a container, it is easy to arrange a collection by filling out an online Chemical Collection Request (CCR) form.

Broken light bulbs/tubes must be cleaned up and collected for disposal by EH&S.  EH&S has a Standard Operating Procedure for Broken Mercury Containing Light Bulbs/Tubes which follows the suggested guidelines provided by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Don’t worry if these procedures are not followed exactly as they are only precautions that reflect best practices for cleaning up a broken light bulb/tube.  The mercury exposure from a light bulb/tube is not large enough to cause health concerns.

Light bulbs/tubes from home or personal equipment may be recycled locally at either the Whitman County Landfill or Moscow Recycling.