Fluorescent light bulb recycling
When your fluorescent bulbs burn out, it's important to recycle them. You can do that at the Cedar Rapids/Linn County Solid Waste Agency. Just drop off your tube-style or compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs at one of our two locations. The service is free for Linn County residents.
Why should I recycle fluorescents?
It's because they contain mercury -- 3.5 to 15 milligrams, depending on the type of lamp, the manufacturer, and when it was manufactured. Recycling keeps that mercury out of the environment. Recycling also reuses the glass tubing, metal end caps and phosphor powder contained in fluorescent bulbs.
Be careful handling your CFLs
If one accidently breaks (download a copy of the EPA CFL Cleanup Guide)
- Ventilate your room
- Don't let anyone walk through the breakage area for 15 minutes.
- Use stiff paper or cardboard on a hard service and scoop glass fragments and powder into a glass jar with a lid.
- Use sticky tape to pick up any remaining fragments and powder.
- Wipe the area clean with damp paper towels.
- Do not use a vacuum or broom on hard surfaces, you'll just end up spreading the particles around the room.
- Use a vacuum, however, on carpet... but only in the breakage area.
- Dispose of the pieces in your outdoor trash container.
- Wash your hands when you're done.
What happens after I drop off my light bulbs?
Your CFL and other bulbs are stored in breakage-resistant containers at the Solid Waste Agency until they can be shipped to a recycler. When a CFL reaches a recycler, the components are separated and sent to manufacturers.