Managing Hazardous Waste

We strengthen regulations and streamline waste management

Universal Waste for Residents – Fluorescent Lamps

What are fluorescent tubes and bulbs and other mercury-containing lamps?

These 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.

You can also check the Earth 911 website 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.

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?

Find a location in your county that you can dispose of your waste lamps.

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 in Universal Wastes Questions and Answers on the DTSC website.

For Additional Questions, Contact the Regulatory Assistance Office

Toll-Free in CA: 800-728-6942 or 800 72-TOXIC
Outside CA: 916-324-2439