Recycled mercury-containing light bulbs

How is RecycFluo making a difference?

Since RecycFluo’s launch in 2012, we have helped consumers and businesses to recycle over 3 million mercury-containing light bulbs, helping to keep hazardous materials out of landfills.

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How much does it cost to recycle my mercury-containing light bulbs?

There is no charge to have mercury-containing lights recycled through the RecycFluo program. RecycFluo is a non-profit program funded by recycling fees paid to the program by members such as manufacturers, distributors and retailers. The recycling fees are used to cover all program costs, including the collection, transportation and recycling of the mercury-containing light bulbs. When you purchase a new mercury-containing light bulb, the seller may show the amount of the recycling fee on the sales receipt, but it is at their discretion. The fees are not a government tax. For more information, please see About RecycFluo

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Do all fluorescent light bulbs contain mercury?

Yes, all fluorescent light bulbs and tubes contain a small amount of mercury that enables them to efficiently generate light. On average, fluorescent lamps use 75% less electricity than conventional incandescent lamps and last up to 10 times longer.

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Are fluorescent light bulbs dangerous?

When used correctly and handled with due care, fluorescent light bulbs represent a safe and efficient lighting option. However, as there is no safe level of exposure to mercury, it is important to responsibly handle and recycle these materials. Please make sure that you take all precautions when transporting them. For information on how to handle broken mercury-containing light bulbs, see Question 6. 

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Why are fluorescent light bulbs considered "green" if they contain mercury?

That’s a great question. Firstly, compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and fluorescent tubes reduce solid waste because they last 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs. Secondly, fluorescent bulbs use 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs thus reducing your electricity bill. On average, lighting can account for anywhere from 5% to 15% of the energy used in your home so something as small as a light bulb can make a big difference!  

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What do I do if I accidentally break a mercury-containing light bulb?

If you break a mercury-containing light bulb, Health Canada recommends you follow these procedures:

  • Make sure to remove all people and pets from the room and ventilate for at least 15 minutes.
  • If possible, wear disposable gloves to avoid direct contact with mercury and to prevent cuts.
  • Carefully sweep or wipe up the glass fragments and powder using two pieces of stiff paper or cardboard.
  • Use sticky tape to pick up more particles and then wipe the area with a damp paper towel to remove all remaining fine dust.
  • If the bulb breaks on a rug or carpet, use sticky tape (such as duct tape) to pick up small pieces and powder. Vacuuming should be avoided as it spreads mercury through the air. If vacuuming is necessary, remove the vacuum bag or empty and wipe the canister with paper towels after the area has been cleaned.
  • Place the broken glass and cleaning materials in a glass container with a tight-fitting lid to further minimize the release of mercury vapour.

Bring the sealed glass container to a RecycFluo collection site.

For more information, please visit the Health Canada website.

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As a consumer, is there a limit to how many mercury-containing light bulbs I can bring to a collection site?

Most municipal and retailer collection sites will have a maximum of 16 fluorescent lights, bulbs or tubes (ie any combination of CFL, HID, etc., to a total of 16), which may vary depending on the site.

If you have a larger quantity , please click here .

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As a consumer, where can I bring my old mercury-containing light bulbs to be recycled?

There are more than 400 RecycFluo collection sites throughout the province of Quebec that accept household quantities of burnt-out mercury-containing light bulbs.

If you are a business, we also have recycling options for you! Click here to learn more.

Find a collection site near you. 

 

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As a business, how do I recycle large volumes of fluorescent lights?

Our program offers a separate, no-cost collection system for businesses looking to responsibly recycle mercury-containing light bulbs used in institutional, commercial or industrial applications.  The quantity of light bulbs you have to recycle will determine where and how they should be collected.

For less than 1 pallet:

Use the map to find a collection site near you.

For 1 pallet or more:

We offer a free pick-up service for large quantities of light bulbs.

Please call 1-888-860-1654 or  for more information or to schedule a pick-up.

Collection systems differ based on the quantity being recycled. In other words, not all of our collection sites are equipped to handle large volumes. If you are a business, we offer several collection options. 

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How many light bulbs constitute a pallet?

Businesses often have large volumes of whole light bulbs or “pallet loads” to recycle. On average, a pallet contains:

  • 500 four-foot fluorescent tubes, or;
  • 1,200 CFLs, or;
  • 600 HID lights, or;
  • A combination of the aforementioned lights that would equate to the same volume.

If you are a business with more than one pallet to recycle, RecycFluo offers a free pick-up service.

Please call 1-888-860-1654 or for more information or to schedule a pick-up.

What products are ACCEPTED?

The RecycFluo system accepts all mercury-containing light bulbs for recycling without charge. This includes all fluorescent tubes, compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), high-intensity discharge (HID) lights as well as other mercury-containing light bulbs.

What products are REFUSED?

Light bulbs that do NOT contain mercury are NOT accepted in our program, such as incandescent bulbs, halogen bulbs, and light-emitting diodes (LEDs).