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Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs Cleaning Up a Broken CFL
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CFLs save energy and money, but require special care.

Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) use about one-fourth the energy and last about 10 times longer than regular (incandescent) light bulbs. This saves you money.

But like other types of energy-efficient lighting, CFLs contain mercury – which is toxic. If CFLs are broken or crushed, they can release mercury into the air, water and soil. This could be dangerous to your health and the environment.

CFLs should be recycled. Batteries Plus accepts CFLs at no charge from residents at all of their retail locations. In addition, some local governments collect CFLs. Several South Carolina companies also offer recovery and processing services for a fee.

For more information, give us a call at 1-800-768-7348.

 

Steps for Cleaning Up a Broken Fluorescent Light Bulb at Home

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends the following clean-up and disposal guidelines.

Before cleaning-up ...

  • STEP 1: Have people and pets leave the room, and don’t let anyone walk through the breakage area on their way out.
  • STEP 2: Open a window and leave the room for at least 15 minutes.
  • STEP 3: Shut off the central heating/air conditioning system, if you have one.

Clean-up steps for hard surfaces ...

  • STEP 4: Carefully scoop up glass fragments and powder using stiff paper or cardboard and place them in a glass jar with metal lid (such as a canning jar) or in a sealed plastic bag.
  • STEP 5: Use tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder.
  • STEP 6: Wipe the area clean with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes and place them in the glass jar or plastic bag.
  • STEP 7: Do not use a vacuum or broom to clean up the broken bulb on hard surfaces.

Clean-up steps for carpets and rugs ...

  • STEP 4: Carefully pick up glass fragments and place them in a glass jar with metal lid (such as a canning jar) or in a sealed plastic bag.
  • STEP 5: Use tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder.
  • STEP 6: If vacuuming is needed after all visible materials are removed, vacuum the area where the bulb was broken.
  • STEP 7: Remove the vacuum bag (or empty and wipe the canister), and put the bag or vacuum debris in a sealed plastic bag.

Disposal of clean-up materials ...

  • STEP 8: Immediately place all clean-up materials outside in a trash container for the next scheduled trash pickup.
  • STEP 9: Wash your hands after disposing of the jars or plastic bags containing clean-up materials.

Future cleaning for carpets or rugs ...

  • STEP 10: The next several times you vacuum, shut off the central heating/air conditioning system and open a window prior to vacuuming.
  • STEP 11: Keep the central heating/air conditioning system shut off and the window open for at least 15 minutes after vacuuming is completed.

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This page was last updated on January 13, 2014.