Compact Fluorescent Lights or CFLs last 10 times longer, and use 75% less electricity than traditional incandescent light bulbs. Each CFL installed in place of an incandescent bulb will save around $6 in electricity costs every year!
Free drop-boxes for recycling CFLs can be found at most (but not all) hardware stores. Deliver used CFLs in a resealable plastic bag. Recycling CFLs allows the reuse of the glass, metals and other materials that make up fluorescent lights.
Recycling Fluorescent Tubes
Free drop-off - residential only, no businesses:
Geneva - Ace Hardware (617 W. State St. 630-208-6600) will receive fluorescent tubes, and LED bulbs for free from residents. This is the drop-off location for the Kane County Fluorescent Tube Recycling Program. The program started December 1, 2015.
Mill Creek SSA - Hazardous Waste home collection will receive fluorescent tubes for free from residents. Read more about home collection.
Northern six townships - Hazardous Waste home collection will receive fluorescent tubes for free from residents. Read more about curbside collection.
St. Charles - Lowe's (955 S Randall Rd. 630-338-4000) will take small quantities for their customers for free when they purchase the new tubes there.
St. Charles - Event Kane County recycles 4-foot fluorescent tubes (residential only, no businesses allowed) at the annual Extravaganza event for free.
Drop off at Elgin Recycling
Location:||660 Schiller St., Elgin, IL 60123 and 161 Center Dr., Gilberts, IL 60136|
Hours:||M-F 7-5 / Sat 8-1|
Accepts:||aluminum, brass, copper, metals, electronics (no tube TVs), some appliances, ballasts|
Payment:||does pay for some items|
Elgin - Batteries Plus (352 S. Randall Rd. 847-289-8990) will recycle fluorescent tubes for a minimal fee of $0.12 per foot. Batteries Plus will also recycle unbroken CFLs for a fee of $0.41 each. They will also take ballasts for a small fee.
Geneva - Batteries Plus (1492-C S. Randall Rd. 630-313-5700) will recycle fluorescent tubes for a minimal fee of $0.12 per foot. Batteries Plus will also recycle unbroken CFLs for a fee of $0.41 each. They will also take ballasts for a small fee.
Fee-based mail-in programs:
EPA recommends Lamp Recyclehttp://www.lamprecycle.org/commercial-lighting-lamp-recyclers/ who works with Everlights, a national service provider for lamp, ballast, battery, electronics, mercury device, and fixture recycling. Pickup service and mail-in programs available. Chicago, IL, 773-734-9873 Ext. 115. The lamp recycling box holds 60 T8 or 30 T12 straight fluorescent tubes. This box can also be used to recycle U-bend and large HID lamps. $60
WM ProgramsLampTracker: CFL bulb box holds 13 of the 13W CFL $20, tubes box holds 16 T8 or 7 T12 4foot lamps $70, picked up by UPS. See www.ThinkGreenFromHome.com
Lamp Masterhttps://lampmaster.com/ 4 foot Lampmaster Recycling Kit holds 100 T8 or 49 T12 for $75
Business Quantity Fluorescent Tubes
The Naperville HHW drop-off is for residents, not businesses. In 1997 fluorescent lamps were designated by law as universal waste, a category of hazardous wastes, because of their mercury content, thereby banning them from landfill disposal. Residential material is exempt from this law, but businesses must contract for disposal services. Here is a short list of companies that can assist small and large businesses with their responsible disposal needs:
- The efficient use of electricity, through installing CFLs, directly reduces emissions of mercury into our atmosphere from coal-fired power to about a quarter of what is produced for an incandescent light.
- The EPA estimates that 103 metric tons of mercury emissions are released in the U.S. each year. More than half of these emissions come from coal-fired electrical power. (U.S. EPA 2005 National Emissions Inventory)
- Each CFL contains only 4 milligrams (mg) of mercury; the long fluorescent tubes have 4-12mg.
- To put that in perspective, home thermometers contain up to 500 mg, manual thermostats contain up to 3,000 mg, and one dental amalgam tooth filling can contain up to 1,000 mg of mercury.
No mercury is released when CFLs are intact or in use!
Handle carefully to avoid breakage, and if you break one - don’t panic. Vacate and ventilate the area for 10 minutes, then gently sweep it up with a damp cloth into a sealable container for disposal. See
for detailed cleanup instructions.