Mercury Lights photo identifier

Mercury Lights

What Consumers Need To Know

The 2010 law, Mercury-Containing Lights - proper disposal (Chapter 70.275 RCW) establishes a producer-financed product stewardship program for the collection, recycling, and disposal of mercury-containing lights. The amended law requires the producers to finance the stewardship program through an environmental handling charge added to all mercury-containing lights sold at retail in the state. This program is operating as of January 1, 2015 as LightRecycle Washington and is designed for single-family and multi-family households, businesses and non-profit organizations to recycle up to 10 lights per day. In the state of Washington all persons, government, commercial, industrial, retail facilities, and office buildings must recycle their mercury-containing lights. Large-scale industrial, commercial and institutional recycling must be handled through locations that can collect large volumes of lights. As incandescent lights are phased off the store shelves, mercury-containing lighting will be more commonly used in households. These lights are more energy efficient than incandescent lights.

Mercury-containing lights must not be placed in the garbage.

Why should I be concerned?

When broken, mercury lights release toxic mercury to the air, which accumulates in our environment. When a mercury-containing light bulb breaks some of the mercury is immediately released to the air. The health impacts from mercury exposure are explained on the Department of Health mercury page.

The LightRecycle Program will accept:

Compact fluorescent lights
Compact Fluorescent Lights

Fluorescent tubes up to
8 ft. long and curved tubes
Fluorescent Tube Lights

High intensity discharge
(HID) lights
High Intensity Discharge Lights

If you do break a mercury-containing light, follow these instructions for cleanup and ventilation.

When and how does the product stewardship affect me?

Beginning on January 1, 2015, the LightRecycle Washington recycling program will be available for anyone returning up to 10 light bulbs per day. This includes single-family and multi-family households as well as businesses, non-profits, or other legal entities recycling lights purchased at retail. There will be no charge at the drop off location. The cost of collecting, transporting, and recycling of the mercury-containing lights will be covered by an environmental handling charge added to the purchase price.

Where can I recycle my lights today?

Visit the LightRecycle Washington web site to find FREE recycling sites near you that take mercury-containing CFLs, fluorescent tubes and HID lights. If the bulbs are broken you MUST CONTAIN THEM in a sealed plastic bag before you recycle them so no toxic mercury escapes to harm you or anyone else handling them!

Visit 1-800-RECYCLE, click on "Fluorescent lights, CFLs, HIDs" under the Recyclable Material Category to find "Fluorescent Lights."