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Fluorescent Lights

Fluorescent Light

Recycling CFLs

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. 

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!​

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 Pilot Program. The pilot program started December 1, 2015 and is continuing until further notice. 

Mill Creek SSA - Hazardous Waste home collection will receive fluorescent tubes for free from residents. Click here for more info.
Naperville - Hazardous Waste Facility will receive fluorescent tubes for free from residents. Click here for more info.

Northern six townships - Hazardous Waste home collection will receive fluorescent tubes for free from residents. Click here for more info.

South Elgin - Home Depot (440 Randall Rd. 847-214-8718) will take small quantities tubes for free. 

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.​

Ballasts:
Drop off at Elgin Recycling
Location: 660 Schiller St., Elgin, IL 60123 and 161 Center Dr., Gilberts, IL 60136
Contact: 847-741-4100, www.elginrecycling.com
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
Fee-based drop-off:

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:

The EPA recommends Lamp Recycle http://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 Programs
LampTracker: 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 Master https://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: 

Everlights         877-934-9873
Fluorecycle                         815-363-4411

Mercury

  • 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!

Clean up

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 www.epa.gov/cfl for detailed cleanup instructions.