Light Bulbs (Fluorescent / CFL)

Alternative ways to recycle
Illegal in Garbage & Drains
Hazardous Waste

It is illegal to throw out compact fluorescent bulbs, fluorescent tubes, high-density discharge bulbs, metal halide bulbs, sodium or neon bulbs. Do not place them in your trash or recycling cart!

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

Westside Hardware | 849 Almar Avenue | tubes up to 4 ft | 4 items per visit 
Santa Cruz Hardware| 1214 Soquel Avenue  tubes up to 4 ft | 4 items per visit  Downtown  Ace Hardware 201 Front Street  | tubes up to 4 ft | 4 items per visit 

Santa Cruz Resource Recovery Facility (RRF) | 605 Dimeo Lane
Monday – Saturday 7:30 am – 3:30 pm | tubes up to 4 ft | 10 items per visit |        10 ballasts per visit | Residential customers only

Note: Tubes over 4 ft are accepted at RRF from residents. Commerical customers and businesses may take bulbs and tubes to the Buena vista Landfill for a fee.                                           

Never Throw in the Trash

Fluorescent light bulbs contain mercury, which is a hazard for your health and the environment. Never throw them away. Store them outside in a sealed container, and dispose of them as Household Hazardous Waste.


Air Out Room if Bulb Breaks

Broken CFL bulbs can release mercury vapor. If one breaks, clear people and pets out of the room, and then air it out for five to ten minutes. To stop the vapor from spreading, also shut off the heat, ventilation and air-conditioning.


Avoid Vacuuming if Possible

Don’t use a vacuum to clean up because this can spread the mercury powder from a broken CFL bulb. Instead, sweep up broken pieces with cardboard or paper. If there are any leftover shards of glass, use a piece of tape to pick them up.

Identifying a CFL Bulb

If you are unsure if your bulb is CFL, check if your bulb is listed with these other CFL bulbs: linear, U-tube and circline fluorescent tubes, bug zappers, tanning bulbs, black lights, germicidal bulbs, high output bulbs and cold-cathode fluorescent bulbs.

Alternative Ways to Recycle


Bring in to Lowe's

Lowe’s accepts rechargeable batteries and CFLs at any of their store locations for free recycling. Find the nearest store.

Did You Know?

Which Bulbs Are More Energy Efficient Than Incandescent Lamps?

LED lights are more energy efficient than incandescent and CFL bulbs: they last 50 times as long as traditional incandescent bulb and use 80 percent less energy. Fluorescent bulbs last three to 25 times longer than incandescents and use anywhere between 20 and 80 percent less energy.