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Light Bulb Disposal Options

What are my options for fluorescent light bulb disposal?

Box Programs
If your building generates only a small amount of used fluorescent bulbs, recycling can be facilitated through a "box program"

  • In a box program, a container is provided to the owner/manager who fills it with used fluorescent bulbs
  • When the container is full, it can be sent to any recycler via a prepaid ground mail shipment program
  • Labels and shipping papers are provided to the building owner/manager by the recycling company
Milk-Run Pick-ups
If your building generates large amounts of used fluorescent bulbs, recyclers can arrange “milk-run” pick-ups
  • Used lamps are picked up by a vendor on a scheduled basis and transported to a certified reclamation/recycling facility.
  • If your building generates very large amounts of used fluorescent bulbs, these can be picked up in trailer loads as needed

Find private companies that provide these services

What about bulb crushing?

  • Crushing fluorescent bulbs creates mercury vapor that is difficult to contain
  • Keeping light bulbs intact until they reach a qualified recycler is the surest method to prevent mercury exposure
  • Crushing fluorescent light bulbs on-site in Virginia is permissible under state regulations
  • There are a number of private companies that produce and maintain drum-top bulb crushing equipment
  • For more information on the regulations that apply to on-site bulb crushing, consult the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality website
 
Know Toxics, A Project of the Northern Virginia Waste Management Board, C/O Northern Virginia Regional Commission
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