As people are becoming more environmentally conscious, they are choosing energy efficient light bulbs instead of traditional incandescent light bulbs. The problem with fluorescent light bulbs is how to dispose of them properly once they burn out since they contain mercury that is hazardous. Luckily, fluorescent light bulbs typically last 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs so we will be disposing of fewer light bulbs. The downside is that we can't just throw them in the trash as we did with other light bulbs in the past. Here are some places where we can properly dispose of fluorescent light bulbs.
Many recycling centers will recycle fluorescent light bulbs. Search online for a recycling center in your area. Make sure to contact the recycling center before showing up to ensure you have followed all of their rules. Most recycling centers not only recycle the mercury into new light bulbs, but they also will recycle the glass and metal in the light bulb.
Hardware Stores and Other Retailers
Most large hardware stores will have a fluorescent light bulb recycling drop off. These retailers then send the fluorescent light bulbs to a recycling center.
You can mail your old fluorescent light fixtures to recycling companies. Search online for a mail off fluorescent light bulb recycling program. Unfortunately, mailing often requires a small fee.
Trash - Maybe?
If you live in a rural area without recycling nearby, contact your local garbage collection company. They might allow you to dispose of your fluorescent light bulbs in the trash if they are sealed in a plastic bag. Do not throw away fluorescent bulbs unless you are sure it is acceptable in your area.