How to Recycle Compact Fluorescent Lamps in Seattle

Have you wondered how to properly dispose of compact fluorescent lamps? Compact fluorescent lamps (CFL or sometimes just CF) are energy efficient light bulbs that contain very small amounts of mercury, so they need to be properly handled and thus can’t be put directly in your trash. 

To properly dispose of compact fluorescent lamps, also called compact fluorescent bulbs, one can take them to any Take It Back Network recycler who handles fluorescent bulbs. The City of Seattle recommends LigthRecycle Washington.

I find it convenient to take mine to one of the 56 Bartell Drug stores in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties. Bartell Drugs started their  CF bulb recycling program in 2008. Simply give your unbroken CF bulb to any store clerk or put it in their recycle bin. Bartell has partnered with Total Reclaim, who says “the used bulbs will be completely recycled, including glass, aluminum, plastic and mercury”.

Update April 2019: Please be aware that electronics recyclers are not all created equal. Total Reclaim, a Seattle-based recycler was a for-profit company and the area’s largest recycler. This article indicates that Total Reclaim was not properly recycling the equipment donated to them. The co-owners have been found guilty of fraud, sentenced to prison and ordered to pay restitution.

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