Welcome to the Department of Toxic Substances Control

UW for Small Businesses - Fluorescent Lamps

Fluorescent tubes and bulbs and other mercury-containing lamps include:

Fluorescent light tubes and bulbs, high intensity discharge (HID), metal halide, sodium, and neon bulbs.  These lights contain mercury vapor that may be released to the environment when they are broken.  Mercury is a toxic metal that can cause harm to people and animals including nerve damage and birth defects.  If mercury is released into the environment it can contaminate the air we breathe and enter streams, rivers, and the ocean, where it can contaminate fish that people eat.


How can I recycle fluorescent lamps?

Many retailers and local government agencies run programs that accept used fluorescent lamps and send them on for recycling.  For information on local collection programs, contact your municipal waste service provider or check the list of Household Hazardous Waste Program Web links at http://ccelearn.csus.edu/mercurylamp/content/index.htm


You can also check http://www.earth911.org for a fluorescent lamps collection program near you.


Most Household Hazardous Waste Programs collect fluorescent lamps. 

These programs are run by your local government agency, and you will want to contact them directly for the location nearest you http://ccelearn.csus.edu/mercurylamp/content/resources5.htm.


Are retailers required to accept used fluorescent from consumers for recycling?

No, but many fluorescent lamps retailers, accept and collect used fluorescent lamps for recycling.  Check with your local retailer.


How should I store my used fluorescent lamps until I can take them to a recycling center?

Store your used fluorescent lamps in a safe, dry place, out of the reach of children, and where they cannot be broken.


Where can I take used fluorescent lamps?

County listings:  For a location in your county that you can dispose of your waste lamps.



Contact your local County Environmental Health Department or Certified Unified Program Agency (CUPA) at: 



What are the requirements I need to be aware of?

Requirements for the Universal Waste Regulations, including those for the management of fluorescent light tubes, can be found on the DTSC website Universal Wastes Questions and Answers at:


For additional questions, you can contact:
Regulatory Assistance Officers
(800) 728-6942, or (800) 72TOXIC
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