How to Dispose of Light Bulbs: UK Edition

Switching to energy-conserving lightbulbs is a small but impactful step you can take in reducing your carbon footprint. But did you know that disposing of them can be just as important? That’s right – there’s more to consider than simply exchanging those fluorescent bulbs for brighter and newer models!

 

In this article, we explore the various ways to dispose of light bulbs here in the UK, ranging from traditional recycling practices for halogen lighting all the way through to specialist hazardous waste treatment for mercury-containing Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs). Read on to learn how following safe disposal methods will benefit local ecosystems now and into the future.

What Can & Can’t be Thrown Away?

Before throwing something away, good habits of recycling and knowing what can be recycled are essential. Not everything can be thrown away; certain light bulbs need special disposal as they contain toxic chemicals that can cause harm to the environment.

Clear Light Bulb Planter on Gray Rock

How to Dispose of Fluorescent Bulbs and Tubes

Fluorescent bulbs and tubes are becoming an increasingly popular source of lighting, but knowing how to responsibly dispose of fluorescent bulbs and tubes is important in order to ensure our environment stays safe. Fluorescent bulbs contain small amounts of mercury vapour, so proper disposal is necessary when replacing them. Most waste and recycling centres now provide special drop-off bins for compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), u-tube, and four-pin circular fluorescent light bulbs that can no longer be used – these must be brought intact in a sealed bag.

Safely Disposing of Halogen Bulbs

Halogen bulbs are an energy-efficient lighting solution for both residential and business applications, but their safe disposal is an important factor in their use. Like incandescent bulbs, halogen bulbs can be thrown into your general waste bin. However, it’s important to exercise caution when disposing of them as the bulbs contain small amounts of tungsten and other metals. We recommend wrapping the bulb(s) up in paper towels to prevent them from smashing.

Old incandescent electric lamps on wooden table

 

Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs)

Proper disposal of Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) is important in order to help protect our environment. CFLs often contain small amounts of mercury, cadmium and/or lead, which can be hazardous if not disposed of correctly.

 

The first step in disposing of used CFLs is to ensure proper clean-up and handling; wear gloves when removing glass tubes from the base and try to make sure that no glass gets broken. Be sure to place the used CFLs in protective packaging before taking them for disposal.

 

Check your local recycling facilities or hazardous waste sites for properly-marked bins for CFL bulb disposal. You shouldn't throw used CFL bulbs into your regular general waste bin as this will can create unnecessary environmental pollution.

LED Light Bulbs

Disposing of LED lighting is pretty straightforward, as they rarely contain dangerous materials. You can dispose of them in your general waste or, preferably, at a recycling centre.

Disposing of Light Fittings and Wiring

Light fittings and wiring should not be thrown into regular landfill as they can contain hazardous materials such as lead, mercury or cadmium. Your local council will likely have a designated waste site for light fittings and other electrical items like switches and sockets; alternatively, some councils offer free collections of light bulbs.

Single-Use Batteries

Single-use batteries are a common but hazardous item that requires proper disposal methods. In the UK, single-use batteries must be taken to a battery disposal point or a recycling centre. Many supermarkets also have collection points for used batteries; check with your local council for more details about how and where to safely dispose of single-use batteries.

Light Bulb Recycling Centres in the UK

Light bulb recycling centres in the UK are becoming an increasingly common sight - a necessary move towards more sustainable practices as people across the country replace traditional bulbs with longer-lasting LED bulbs. By recycling a lightbulb, you're helping to minimise environmental damage caused by hazardous waste materials that cannot be recycled in regular recycling bins.

Tips for Treatment, Transport and Storage of Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment (WEEE)

Treatment, transport and storage of Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment (WEEE) can be a tricky business. It is essential that general safety protocols are adhered to when dealing with any form of hazardous waste and WEEE is no exception.

 

First, it is important to research the most effective treatment method for disposing of each type of waste while ensuring environmental safety. All electronics must be safely disconnected from their power sources and stored away from combustible materials prior to transportation to a licensed processing facility.

 

In order to avoid adverse environmental impact, the waste materials should be packed in protective containers and securely labelled with the contents of each container before being shipped out. Finally, all personnel in direct contact with WEEE must remain vigilant and educated on the safe handling practices required under government regulations.

Illuminated Lamp Against Black Background

How to Find a WEEE Collection Facility Near You

If you're looking to responsibly dispose of WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment), you can easily find a facility to do so near you with an online tool. Additionally, many municipal recycling centres now offer a drop-off service specifically for WEEE waste. It's always best to contact the facility ahead of time to confirm their rules, as some may only accept certain types of e-waste.

Conclusion

#Properly disposing of light bulbs and other electrical equipment is key to protecting the environment. There are a number of options for how to do this, from recycling centres to hazardous waste sites. Be sure to research your local policies and take care of how you handle and store WEEE materials before disposal.

 

Falcon Electrical is one of the UK’s leading electrical wholesalers, supplying electrical products to commercial and domestic customers up and down the country. Shop our full range of light bulbs today and enjoy high-quality, dependable products at great prices.