Disposing of Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs (CFLs)


Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) should not be thrown away with normal trash when recycling options are available. They should be treated as you would treat batteries. This is because they contain trace amounts of mercury. The amount in them isn't large enough to pose users a hazard, but it does become a concern at landfills, where the mercury from many bulbs could leak into the ground.

The recommended course of disposal varies depending on where you live, so consumers are advised to ask the local authorities. Sometimes stores that sell CFLs will accept back used CFLs to recycle them correctly.

It is interesting to note that coal power plants are the single largest source of mercury emissions into the environment. A coal power plant burning enough fuel to power an incandescent light bulb instead of a CFL would release more mercury into the air than is actually contained in a CFL itself.

Keep checking back to find more places recycling CFLs, we expect to add more locations over the next year.

P.E.T.E.S. (Palmer Electric)
2407 Havre Ave. (off South Reserve near the Larchmont Golf Course).
Missoula, MT 59801

Palmer Electric accepts CFL's, electronics and other items for recycling. Check with them for current prices.


If no options exist for recycling CFLs in your area, you can dispose of spent bulbs through your trash service only after placing the bulbs in a sealed plastic bag.