How to Dispose/Recycle Fluorescent tubes

Fluorscent lamp

The fluorescent tubes should be disposed or recycled because it contains mercury. It is considered to be hazardous waste in California. Glass tubes are replaced as glass art and mercury can be reused in making another lamp. Annually 620 million fluorescent lamps are recycled. Mercury will be released in the environment when it is broken or disposed of improperly.

Use of Fluorescent lamps or tubes

  1. Great energy saver.
  2. Last up to ten times than other lights.
  3. Reduce greenhouse gas.

Purpose of Recycling

  • It avoids the release of mercury.
  • Other lamp parts can be reused.
  • The purpose and the facilities for recycling are explained in this site This shows the nearby recycling store as well.

The compounds in fluorescent tubes:

  • Mercury
    • Mercury in fluorescents contains 3 to 46 mg. The amount of mercury varies from size and age.
    • Mercury works as an important element for Fluorescent tubes/lamps.
    • 99% of mercury is contained in the phosphor.
  • Phosphors
    • Lamps are made of toxic compounds like beryllium, arsenic, cadmium, and thallium which are used in producing phosphor.
    • Earth doped phosphors are not harmful elements.


The main concern when you break the fluorescent is mercury. Because mercury remains as a toxic pollutant. If the tube is broken follow the steps below:

  • Combine Mercury with Sulfur.
  • This forms Mercury Sulfide ( insoluble in water and does not vapor).
  • Sulfur is low in cost as well.
  • Before breaking the tubes, cover the fluorescent tubes with sulfur and put in a bag. The mercury will not make any changes.
  • 25 kg of sulfur is required for breaking 1000 fluorescent tubes.

How to clean broken Fluorescent

Note: Don’t use ordinary vacuums.

  • Use only vacuums manufactured for hazardous waste.
  • Wear latex gloves while cleaning.


  • Keep away from pets and children.
  • After the cleaning process, wash your hands.

Removal of Fluorescent or CFL lights

The proper disposal of fluorescent lights/ tubes won’t cause any damage to the environment.

  1. Put the lights in household hazardous waste or electronic waste.
  2. Unbroken tubes can be disposed at any local home depot store.
  3. CFLs and other fluorescent lights contain less amount mercury.

This article speaks about the purpose of recycling fluorescent lamps or lights. Though the lamps give less electricity bill, it has some harmful toxic. Follow the instructions given above if you want to recycle the tubes or to remove the broken fluorescents tube. Thank you.

About Arun Vasudev N

Arun Vasudev N is a Blogger, Programmer and Former Multimedia Trainer. He have 12 years experience in computer field.

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