CFL Light Bulbs

Did You Know:


  • Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs) last 10 times longer and use 75% less electricity than traditional incandescent light bulbs.
  • Each CFL installed in place of an old incandescent light bulb will save around $6 in electricity costs every year!
  • This efficient use of electricity directly reduces emissions of mercury into our atmosphere from coal-fired power plants.
  • Each CFL contains only 4 milligrams (mg) of mercury; the long fluorescent tubes have 4-12mg.  To put that in perspective, home thermometers contain up to 500 mg, manual thermostats contain up to 3,000 mg, and one dental amalgam filling can contain up to 1,000 mg of mercury.
  • Most of the mercury is used up and fused to the glass tube by the time it burns out, and will not be released if you break it.
  • No mercury is released when CFLs are intact or in use!

To avoid breakage handle carefully, but if you break one don’t panic.

  • Vacate and ventilate the area for 10 minutes, then gently sweep it up with a damp cloth into a sealable container for disposal. See OR for detailed cleanup instructions.

Recycling CFLs allows the reuse of the glass, metals and other materials that make up fluorescent lights. There are no recycling programs for traditional incandescent light bulbs.

  • Drop-boxes for recycling CFLs can be found at most Ace Hardware and Home Depot stores. Deliver used CFLs in a resealable plastic bag. Call your local hardware store, ask at the service desks, or visit to find stores in your area.
  • Long fluorescent tubes are not generally accepted at hardware stores, but can be taken to the Naperville Hazardous Waste Facility.