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About Light Recycling

We make it easy for you to safely recycle your burnt out or unwanted light bulbs and tubes by dropping them off for free.

Depending on the province, you can drop off fluorescent bulbs, lighting fixtures, Christmas lights, ballasts and other types of bulbs. Visit your province’s page to find out if lighting products are recyclable where you live, and if so, which ones.

Recycling locations where you can drop off your lights include recycling centres, bottle depots, and retail stores such as London Drugs and Rona.

Previously known as LightRecycle, our light recycling program was established in BC in 2010 in response to recycling regulations and requirements for mercury-containing bulbs in Canada. The program has since expanded to Manitoba, Quebec and PEI.

40 million light bulbs have been diverted from landfill since 2010

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How to recycle your lights

Drop off your lights at your nearest Product Care Recycling location. Use our recycling locator to find your nearest one.

  • Take light bulbs and other accepted lighting products to your nearest recycling location and drop them off for free.

  • Drop off up to 16 lights at once. If you have more than 16, you may be eligible for our commercial volumes pick-up program.

  • Be sure to check which products are accepted in your province first.

The importance of recycling your light bulbs

Our program exists due to regulations surrounding energy efficient fluorescent light bulbs, known as CFLs. Three-quarters of Canadian households contained one or more CFL bulb in 2011, according to Statistics Canada’s archived data.

CFLs contain a tiny amount of mercury, which, if the bulbs are thrown in the trash and sent to landfill, can harm marine life, water supplies and human health.

Recycling light bulbs ensures that any mercury and phosphor they contain is handled safely and does not cause harm. The bulbs stay out of landfill, and their glass and metal components can be recycled and used again.

In some places, including British Columbia, our program takes back other kinds of lighting products, too, such as incandescent bulbs, halogen bulbs, lighting fixtures, and ballasts. We are committed to reducing landfill waste and recycling these products’ constituent parts wherever possible, promoting reuse, recycling and a circular economy.

The light bulb recycling process

When you drop off your lights at a recycling location, they are transported to an authorized processor. The processor sorts the lights by type and stages them for manual or mechanical processing.

  • Glass

    Crushed glass can be used in insulation or as a sandblasting material

  • Mercury

    Mercury-containing phosphor powder is distilled to separate mercury into its pure elemental form. It is then safely contained by approved storage providers and directed back into market, as needed, for use in lighting, medical, and other sectors

  • Metal

    Metal from bulbs and fixtures is absorbed by the metal commodities market, and has a wide range of applications

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Which types of lights can I drop off?

    We accept CFL bulbs and fluorescent tubes in all of the provinces we operate a lights program in: British Columbia, Manitoba, Quebec and Prince Edward Island. Other products are accepted in some provinces.

  • How many lights can I drop off at once?

    All locations accept up to 16. If you have more than 16 lights to recycle at once, use our recycling locator to search for a location that can accept them. If you have more than a full pallet of lights, you may be able to use our collection service for larger volumes, which operates in British Columbia, Quebec and Prince Edward Island.

  • What happens if I break a light bulb that contains mercury?

    If you break a mercury-containing light bulb, Health Canada recommends the following cleanup procedure:

    • Ventilate the room for at least 15 minutes before you start clean up, removing people and pets from the room
    • Wear disposable gloves if possible to avoid direct contact with mercury and to prevent cuts
    • Sweep or wipe up the glass fragments and powder using two pieces of stiff paper or cardboard
    • Use sticky tape to pick up fine glass and powder and then wipe the area with a damp paper towel to pick up any residue
    • If the bulb breaks on a rug or carpet, use sticky tape to pick up small pieces and powder
    • Vacuuming should be avoided as it spreads mercury through the area. If vacuuming is necessary, remove the vacuum bag or empty and wipe the canister with paper towel after the area is cleaned
    • Place the broken glass and clean-up materials in a glass container with a tight fitting lid or two sealed plastic bags to further minimize the release of mercury vapour
    • Bring the sealed glass container or sealed plastic bags to a light recycling location

    Visit the Health Canada website for more information.