COVID-19 update: Given the current situation, some recycling locations may be temporarily closed or have reduced hours. If you’re planning to visit a depot, we encourage you to contact them directly to confirm hours of operation and safety protocols. Please do not throw your recyclables in the trash.
Our light recycling program repurposes materials such as glass, metal and phosphor powder from old light bulbs to be used again
About Light Recycling
We make it easy for you to safely recycle your burnt out or unwanted light bulbs and tubes by providing free drop-off.
If you live in British Columbia, Manitoba, Quebec, or Prince Edward Island, you can drop-off fluorescent bulbs, fixtures*, and other types of bulbs for recycling – it’s free! Accepted products vary by province, please visit your province’s page for details. Drop-off locations may include recycling centres, bottle depots, and retail stores.
Use our Recycling Locator to find a drop-off location and see what products they accept. For a complete list of accepted products, details on recycling large quantities of lights (commercial volumes), and other information, visit your province’s page:
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 Prince Edward Island.
*Lighting fixtures including string lights and ballasts are only accepted in British Columbia.
11.6 million light bulbs diverted from landfill in 2019 – nearly enough to light every home in Winnipeg, MB & Victoria, BC
How does the light recycling process work?
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.
Crushed glass can be used in insulation or as a sandblasting material
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 from bulbs and fixtures is absorbed by the metal commodities market, and has a wide range of applications
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.
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.