Bulb Recycling is Good for the Environment and It's the Law
Used fluorescent and high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps require special care because they contain a small amount of mercury. Because mercury is harmful to the environment, Minnesota law prohibits the disposal of fluorescent bulbs in household garbage.
Minnesota Power makes fluorescent bulb recycling as easy as a trip to your local hardware store; we'll even help pay the recycling fee. (See the list of participating fluorescent bulb recycling retailers below.)
Here's how it works:
- Take your used bulbs and one coupon per bulb to a participating store.
- Coupons can be used for either free recycling of CFLs or 50 cents off the recycling fee for each qualifying fluorescent tube or lamp.
- Minnesota Power will redeem up to 10 coupons per household or small business if you are a Minnesota Power customer.
|Askov||23 Hardware & Lumber|
|Brainerd||Weidell Trustworthy Hardware|
|Brainerd Ace Hardware|
|Cross Lake||Cross Lake Ace Hardware|
|Deer River||Jurvelin Hardware, Inc.|
|Deerwood||Deerwood True Value|
|Timber Building Supply|
|Grey Eagle||Bitz Hardware|
|Little Falls||Little Falls Fleet Supply|
|Little Falls Hardware Hank|
|Long Prairie||Ace Hardware|
|Moose Lake||Hoffman Ace Hardware|
|Pine City||Hoffman Ace Hardware|
|Proctor||Proctor True Value & Builders Supply|
|Rice||Rice Hardware Hank|
|Royalton||Royalton Lumber & Hardware|
|Sandstone||Sandstone Ace Hardware|
|Sauk Rapids||Czarnetzki Hardware Hank|
|Mimbach Fleet Supply|
|Staples||Coast True Value|
|Miller True Value|
|Two Harbors||True Value Hardware|
|Upsala||Upsala Farm Store|
|Backus||Godfrey's True Value|
|Cloquet Home Center|
|Denny's Ace Hardware|
|North Country Hardware|
|Grand Rapids||Burggraf's Ace Hardware|
|Hackensack||Hackensack Lumber and Hardware|
|Hermantown||Midway Lumber Specialties|
|Nashwauk||Nashwauk Hardware Hank|
|Nisswa||Carlson Hardware of Nisswa|
|Pierz||Hartman's Hardware Hank|
|Pine River||Gardiner's Hardware and Furniture|
|Tower||Vermilion Golden Rule Lumber|
|Virginia||Grande Ace Hardware|
|Walker||Walker Home Center|
CFLs contain a very small amount of mercury sealed within the glass tubing – an average of 5 milligrams (roughly equivalent to the tip of a ball-point pen). Mercury is an essential, irreplaceable element in CFLs and is what allows the bulb to be an efficient light source. By comparison, older home thermometers contain 500 milligrams of mercury and many manual thermostats contain up to 3000 milligrams. It would take between 100 and 600 CFLs to equal those amounts. There is currently no substitute for mercury in CFLs; however, manufacturers have taken significant steps to reduce mercury used in their fluorescent lighting products over the past decade.
CFLs are safe to use in your home. No mercury is released when the bulbs are in use and they pose no danger to you or your family when used properly. However, CFLs are made of glass tubing and can break if dropped or roughly handled. Be careful when removing the lamp from its packaging, installing it, or replacing it. Always screw and unscrew the lamp by its base, and never forcefully twist the CFL into a light socket by its tubes. Used CFLs should be disposed of properly using the guidance below.
If you happen to accidentally break a fluorescent bulb, keep people and pets away from the breakage area until the cleanup is complete. Visit the EPA website for details.
You may recycle all types of fluorescent bulbs including circular tubes, u-bend fluorescent tubes, compact fluorescent bulbs, high-intensity discharge lamps, fluorescent tubes up to eight feet in length.
Follow these guidelines to dispose your CFL properly: Like paint, batteries, thermostats, and other hazardous household items, CFLs should be disposed of properly. Do not throw CFLs away in your household garbage.