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Light bulbs are a product that almost everyone has. They’re used to light your bedroom, kitchen, portable flashlights, or even to decorate your house for the holidays. Yet there are many common misconceptions about what to do with light bulbs when they no longer shine bright. In this easy how-to guide, we will debunk all of the myths surrounding light recycling, and show you just how easy it is to drop off burnt-out bulbs at a recycling location near you!

Here are three common myths about light bulbs.

Myth: Light bulbs are not recyclable 

Many believe that light bulbs are not recyclable because they have not heard or seen our cheeky ads, while others believe harmful chemicals like phosphor powder and mercury containing fluorescent will not be accepted at recycling depots – but here’s the truth: 98% of light bulb components; glass, electronics, metal, and even phosphor powder and mercury are reusable and completely recyclable!

Myth: Only some types of light bulbs are recyclable because of the harmful chemicals they contain 

In fact, it’s even more important to recycle mercury-containing, fluorescent bulbs. While no mercury is released from the bulb when intact, if the bulb is broken or disposed of improperly, small amounts of mercury (about 4mg) could be released into the environment and waterways. Recycling light bulbs prevents these emissions of mercury into the environment.

Additionally, the use of florescent light bulbs can actually help reduce your environmental footprint as they require less energy – up to 75% less – and have an added perk of potentially saving you a few dollars on your utility bill. Therefore, in order to save the environment and money – keeping florescent light bulbs intact and recycled properly is a no-brainer!

(Tip: Always check with your depot to be sure they accept the bulbs you would like to recycle, or if they accept broken bulbs. If you find yourself with a broken bulb, check out the Health Canada website to how to safely clean it up!)

With this newfound knowledge on the fact that light bulbs can actually be recycled in BC, you might now be wondering – where can I take them?

Myth: A consumer has to travel at least 50km to find a location that accepts light bulbs for recycling

It is a common misconception that recycling light bulbs is a hassle because there are no collection sites within reach that will accept them. Well, you’re in luck! There are 400+ collection sites across BC that currently accept lighting products. Some of these locations, such as London Drugs, may allow you to do your shopping and recycling all in one place – talk about convenience!

So while that one burnt out bulb may seem trivial at first, know that when you recycle it, you contribute to a growing movement that is making a significant positive impact on our environment. When in doubt about whether to recycle your lights or not, just remember: every bulb counts!

To find your closest collection site, visit productcare.org!

Recycling light bulbs in Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, PEI or Washington? Click here for more information on recycling in your province!

Still need more info? You can also call the Recycling Hotline at 604-732-9253 in the Lower Mainland and 1-800-667-4321 in the rest of BC.


Find a Recycling Location