I've broken a fluorescent bulb in my home. What do I do? - How to clean up a broken fluorescent bulb
Fluorescent Light Bulb Information
Mercury is a significant environmental problem in Maine. Maine law requires businesses and consumers to recycle all mercury added lamps. When one of these bulbs breaks, mercury is released. Examples of mercury added lamps include compact fluorescent (CFL), fluorescent tube, neon, black lights, UV, and high intensity discharge bulbs. In Maine, it is illegal to throw mercury added bulbs in the trash.
If you can't throw them away, what should you do with burnt out bulbs?
Answer: Recycle them. Help ME Recycle is our new map-based guide to find recycling locations.
- Households can recycle intact CFLs, circuline, U-shaped and straight tube bulbs up to 2 feet at any of more than 100 participating retail stores (PDF) for free.
- You can also recycle CFLs (and other fluorescent bulbs) where your municipality has made lamp recycling arrangements (PDF). Some municipalities allow both households and businesses to use the municipality's fluorescent lamp recycling site. Businesses should check the listing to see if their municipality will take their bulbs.
- Businesses may use a Universal Waste Management and Recycling Company (PDF), contract with a lamp replacement company to get their fluorescent bulbs recycled. Businesses may contact DEP Hazardous Waste program staff at (207) 287-7688 requirements and options for businesses.
Proper Recycling of Fluorescent Bulbs and Product Stewardship
Maine requires manufacturers of mercury-added lamps to implement a product stewardship program for the recycling of these bulbs from households. The manufacturers’ program will provide containers to municipal waste collection sites and to retailers for storage, shipping and recycling of the bulbs.
- Mercury-added Lamps - A Strategy for Improving Recycle Rates, February 2010 (PDF)
- Household Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) Recycling in Maine - September 2009 report from University of Southern Maine. (PDF)(off-site)
- Report Regarding the Recycling of Fluorescent Lamps and Consumer Education Efforts - Maine DEP and Public Utilities Commission (PDF)
For more information on recycling lamps from businesses and on the fluorescent lamp study contact Stacy Ladner at (207) 287-7853.
For more information about product stewardship and the manufacturers' program contact Carole Cifrino at (207) 485-8160.