Is it OK to throw away fluorescent light bulbs?

Are light bulbs recycled?

Saving bulbs, which are fluorescent, contain mercury, which in contact with the environment is very harmful. If not properly recycled, this heavy metal can leach into the soil, with harmful results for the environment.

When a fluorescent bulb breaks, we may be exposing ourselves to mercury, so it is recommended to move away from the area for at least 15 minutes, in addition to ventilating the space if it is closed. In addition, both these and those that do not break should be taken to appropriate points.

The truth is that except for incandescent bulbs, all bulbs can be recycled. Many of their components are removed and can be reused, reducing waste and helping the environment.

Some people think that, since light bulbs contain a good amount of glass, they belong in the green garbage can, but this is a serious mistake. The components of the bulbs are very varied and must be separated in an adequate way to proceed to their correct treatment.


The EPA recommends that if a fluorescent light bulb has broken in the home, people and animals should leave the area for at least 15 minutes. It is also important to do what you can to air it out, such as opening a window or turning on a fan.

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In contrast, when an LED bulb breaks, there is no direct exposure to harmful substances. However, it is very important that we also recycle them at a suitable point. This will prevent that, with time and degradation, these substances are left free if we dispose of them in any way.

This is the container for substances that do not have their own recycling container and into which biological waste, leftovers, etc. are also thrown. The container is gray or green, depending on the city.

You can take them there or take advantage of the mobile ecoparks that exist in some cities. These are usually on certain days and at certain times in various parts of the city to collect special recyclable waste, including light bulbs.

Fluorescent tubes hazardous waste

It is important to know how to properly dispose of some materials that are normally found in our homes, since, after their use, they can become very dangerous for our health.

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Energy-saving light bulbs, also known as fluorescent bulbs, are hazardous waste because of the components they contain. There is a specific component which is highly dangerous; we are talking about mercury, a heavy metal that is present in these bulbs in the form of vapor or gas.

In the case of fluorescent bulbs, we would be talking about a hazardous waste that we have in our homes; however, the danger is not in the bulb itself, since they are items sold in stores, hardware stores and others, and that can be very manipulable. Therefore, as long as they are kept complete, they are not going to be dangerous.

The danger arises when the fluorescent bulb is broken, because that is when it will release those gases that are highly hazardous to health and can also contaminate soil and water.

How to recycle LED bulbs

If you do not know what to do with a waste product, we recommend you to ask Limasín, our Virtual Assistant, who will try to answer any of your questions.  We summarize in which container you should deposit each waste.

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Newspapers, magazines, leaflets and mailing leaflets, books in unusable condition, albums, notebooks (without spiral and without staples), cardboard egg cartons, kitchen paper or any paper soaked in water, cardboard trays, paper bags, all kinds of paper, boxes and folded packaging.

Glass bottles of spirits, wine, cava, or beer, glass bottles of perfumes, colognes or creams, and food jars such as jam, preserves, vegetables or similar, always empty and clean of products or organic remains, and without lid or cap, in case they had it.

Light bulbs, fluorescent tubes, porcelain, ceramics, window glass or mirrors, glasses, crystal glasses or tableware, crystal ashtrays, stoppers, corks, metal lids of glass containers, etc.