How to dispose of lightbulbs
It's easy to work out how to dispose of old lightbulbs, just so long as you know what type of bulb you have. Here we explain the different types of lightbulbs, and how to dispose of each
All true interior enthusiasts understand the importance of good lighting, but if, like us, you have several ambient lamps and efficient task lights around your home, the chances are you've also got an old lightbulb or two knocking about too.
Can you recycle lightbulbs?
LED light bulbs, the most energy-efficient light bulbs, can be recycled at most recycling centres, and in some areas you can dispose of them on your kerbside in a plastic bag along with the rest of your household recycling (but make sure to check your local authority's website first).
Older style incandescent lightbulbs can't be recycled. Instead, wrap them up in a bag or pop them in a box to keep them from shattering, and place them in your normal household waste bin. The same goes for halogen lightbulbs.
Look out for the symbol of a wheelie bin with a cross over it on lightbulb packaging - this means your lightbulb needs to be disposed of separately from regular household waste. Instead, you'll need to return your lightbulb to a specific recycling point. Visit recolight.co.uk for recycling point locations and more information.
Types of lightbulb
- Incandescent this is the original lightbulb developed by Thomas Edison and his contemporaries in the 19th century. Though aesthetically pleasing to look at, these bulbs are not pleasing to bank accounts! They are not energy-efficient and though you can still find lower-wattage styles, they are being gradually faded out (pardon the pun).
- Fluorescent is most often found in commercial spaces like offices and shops, and they're characterised by long white tubes. These bulbs contain mercury vapour, so are dangerous if broken and must be disposed of safely.
- Halogen use halogen gas and they emit a natural-like light. They can get very hot so they're best used for short periods of time.
- LED or Light Emitting Diode is by the far the most energy-efficient kind of lightbulb. They can last for up to a whopping ten years and use up to 85% less energy to run.
Recycle at home
Recycling your lightbulbs at home is an option in some areas of the UK. You can check if your area picks up LED light bulbs on the kerb at recyclenow.com
If your local authority takes old LED bulbs, it's likely they'll ask you to pop them in a plastic bag first, to protect the glass from smashing.
Take to a recycling point
A safe way of ensuring your old LED lightbulbs are recycled properly is by taking them to your nearest recycling centre. You can find your local recycling facility at recyclenow.com.
Many high street stores, like Argos, B&Q and Currys will also take your old LED lightbulbs.