How to safely dispose of light bulbs

When your light bulbs burn out, where should you put them? Halogen and incandescent light bulbs can go in the regular trash. Fluorescent lights contain mercury and must be disposed of safely. King County residents and businesses can bring up to 10 fluorescent light bulbs per trip to a hazardous waste drop-off site. Here’s what’s accepted: 

  • Fluorescent tubes: linear tubes, 1-8 feet long 
  • Low mercury or ‘green tips’: linear tubes that sometimes contain lesser amounts of mercury 
  • Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs): also known as “twisty bulbs” 
  • High intensity discharge (HID) lamps: bulbs used when high levels of light over large areas are required. These areas include gymnasiums and parking lots, sports fields, warehouses, and stadiums. 
  • Fluomeric lamps: high-wattage bulbs that are often used for high-bay lighting such as industrial ceilings, street lights, building facades, billboards and sports arenas. 
  • Ultraviolet: specialty lamps used for sun-tanning, medical treatments, in black lights, and in germicidal lamps that disinfect food, water, and air 
  • Other lights: neon lights, U-tubes and circular tubes, shatter shields (fluorescents coated with plastic to prevent breakage).