How to Recycle Fluorescent Tubes After an LED Upgrade

Recycle arrows isolated on white. Vector illustration.

It’s known that compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are not the most efficient lighting solution, particularly for large spaces. More commercial and industrial buildings have turned to light-emitting diodes, or LED lights, which live longer and are less costly to run. As result, many organizations are left with an unusable stock of CFL tubes. Proper disposal is essential when it comes to fluorescents, as they are fragile and often contain mercury. Here is a quick guide to recycling your outdated lighting safely.

Storage Recommendations

Before you’re ready to recycle, it may be necessary to gather and store unneeded CFLs. Mercury content is toxic, however, so keeping people away and providing airflow are certainly advised. Section off a suitable storage area with the following attributes in mind:

• Choose a low-traffic spot away from common areas and workspaces;
• Ensure the area’s well-ventilated in case breakage occurs;
• Label tubes as material to be recycled so they won’t be put back into use.

Transportation Tips

It’s recommended to travel with some basic clean-up supplies should any fluorescent lamps break while transporting. Carry rubber gloves and a facemask for personal protection, plus a broom to sweep up debris. Damp paper towels are good for dabbing up small pieces of broken glass, but avoid vacuuming; this can eject dangerous particles back into the air.

Recycling CFLs is a specialized process, so be sure to locate a facility that accepts your specific materials. Wrap and/or box tubes together and provide them adequate cushioning to avoid breakage during the trip, as they are usually very fragile.

Make the Switch

Making the move to LED lighting can be a great cost-saver for any commercial or industrial space. If your building still depends on lesser CFL products, consider making a change today. NextGen LED is a proven partner, with the knowledge and experience to take your location into a new generation of lighting. For more information, give us a call at +1(301) 804-2986, or complete a contact form and we will be in touch!

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