Disposal & Recycling of Energy Saving Lamps & Tubes

All energy saving lamps, compact fluorescent discharge bulbs and tubes contain phosphors as well as a small amount of mercury to function. The disposal of phosphor and particularly the toxic mercury in the tubes is an environmental issue and should be deal with in the correct way.

Energy saving lamps need to be disposed of carefully so they do not break or let the mercury escape, potentially polluting air and water.


Governmental regulations in many areas require special disposal of fluorescent lamps separate from general and household wastes.

The WEEE Directive

In the European Union, energy saving lamps are one of many products subject to the Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) recycling scheme.

The aim of the WEEE directive is to reduce landfill and to save the enviroment and human health from potential effects caused by the presence of hazardous substances contained in many types of electrical equipment.

The WEEE directive applies to all types of discharge lamps such as fluorescent tubes, compact fluorescents, compact fluorescent energy savers and other types of discharge lamps.

All such items now carry the following informative mark (crossed-out wheeled-bin symbol) as a reminder that they should be separately recycled.


The Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS) took effect on 1st July 2006. This aims to restrict the use of a number of hazardous substances including mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium and lead. All lamps that we supply are manufactured to meet the requirements of the RoHS directive.

What to do if a energy saving lamp breaks?

The mercury contained in the lamp cannot escape from an intact lamp but may be a public hazard if the lamp breaks. Although the amount of mercury in energy saving lamps is less than in a mercury thermometer – you need to break over 100 CFLs to be exposed to the same amount in a mercury thermometer – it is wise to follow some precaution steps during clean-up:

  1. Use rubber or latex gloves while cleaning up, also to protect yourself from broken glass.
  2. Ventilate the room before you start the clean-up. Mercury vaporises readily at room temperature. Open all windows and leave the room for at least 15 minutes. Do not walk over the affected area. Turn off heating/air conditioning systems, heat pumps, dehumidifiers and ventilation systems.
  3. Carefully sweep all the big pieces up using stiff paper or cardboard. Wrap the gathered pieces in newspaper and place in a plastic bag.
  4. Use the sticky side of duct tape to clean up all the small pieces. Wrap in newspaper and place in a plastic bag.
  5. Do not use a vacuum or a broom to clean up after a broken light bulb as this will vaporise and spread mercury through the air and contaminate the vacuum cleaner or broom.
  6. Wipe the area down with a damp paper towel. Place used paper towels in a plastic bag.
  7. Remove rubber gloves and place in a plastic bag.
  8. Wash your face, hands and arms thoroughly, and change your clothing after cleaning up.
  9. Seal all the plastic bags containing the broken pieces of the light bulb, and the paper towels and rubber gloves used in cleaning up.

Please see our overview on the right hand side for recyling procedures in your country or contact us for details of your nearest recycling location.

Our Recycling Partners:

Do the right thing: Recycle

"Responsibility is just the difference between knowing about something and doing something to make it better."

Sewell, 1998