Fluorescent Ballasts

Illegal in Garbage & Drains
Hazardous Waste

Ballasts are accepted at the Resource Recovery Facility. See information below for details.  It is illegal to throw out fluorescent tubes, compact fluorescent bulbs, high-density discharge bulbs, metal halide bulbs, sodium or neon bulbs. Do not place them in your trash or recycling cart!

Fluorescent tubes and bulbs may be dropped off for recycling at the following locations:

Westside Hardware | 849 Almar Avenue
Santa Cruz Hardware | 1214 Soquel Avenue
Illuminée | 402 Ingalls Street
ProBuild | 235 River Street
Riverside Lighting & Electric | 300 Soquel Avenue

Santa Cruz Resource Recovery Facility | 605 Dimeo Lane
Monday – Saturday 7:30 am – 3:30 pm

Tubes over 4 feet are not accepted at these locations. There is a limit of 10 tubes, compact bulbs and ballasts per visit at the RRF.

Never Throw in the Garbage

Fluorescent ballasts may contain toxic substances including mercury, DEHP and polychlorinated biphenals (PCBs), so they need to be disposed of as hazardous waste. Otherwise, these chemicals will leach into the water and soil.

Pre-1979? Replace It Now

If your ballast was made before 1979, it likely contains polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), a highly toxic substance, and it is likely to rupture at any time. Even if it hasn’t ruptured yet, it may be slowly leaking PCBs. The EPA recommends you replace it immediately.

Did You Know?

Still Hazardous Even if PCB-Free

In 1978 the EPA banned using PCBs in fluorescent ballasts. Newer ballasts are PCB-free and can be identified by a label that says “No PCB.” Manufacturers still use a known endocrine disruptor called DEHP, which is shown to cause liver, kidney, lung and reproductive issues.