Guide Recycle

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4. Light bulbs (FAQ's)

What if they are broken?

If you break a bulb, as a precaution, ventilate the room for 15 minutes. Then sweep up the broken material using a damp cloth. Place in a sealed plastic bag and take to your local recycling centre for disposal. Please do not place them in our banks at the locations above as this would be dangerous.

Are energy saving light bulbs more polluting than incandescent (ordinary) bulbs because they contain mercury?

They do contain a small amount of mercury, but that doesn't make them worse for the environment. When fossil fuels (especially coal) are burnt to provide electricity for ordinary bulbs, mercury is released. Because they use much more electricity over the lifetime of the bulb, they lead to the release of more mercury than is in an energy saving light bulb.

How much mercury do energy saving light bulbs contain?

Up to five milligrams - which is about the size as the ball point in a pen – there is about three grams in a mercury thermometer.

More information and how to contact us

You can find more information on the disposal of energy saving light bulbs through the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra's) website. If you have a large quantity of energy saving light bulbs to dispose of Recolight may be able to collect them from you.