How to Dispose Of LED Bulbs?

You must know how to dispose of LED bulbs if you’re using them at home. LED bulbs have a significant advantage over traditional lights as they are energy-efficient and long-lasting.

When they burn out, you can either recycle or dispose them. Depending on where you live, the recycling options are often limited, so disposing of them is often the only choice.


Here are the steps for disposing of LED bulbs safely, per your region’s regulations:

1.    Search for Disposing Sites

2.    Prepare for Disposal


3.    Go to the Waste Facility

4.    Recycle

5.    Mail-in Facilities 


Search for Disposing Sites

Since LED bulbs don’t have mercury, they can be thrown in the regular trash. However, they do contain minute amounts of other harmful chemicals such as lead that can harm the person taking out the garbage or processing it.

You can either check the disposing regulations on your local government site or search online for nearby recycling plants.

Prepare for Disposal

If the rules allow you to throw LED bulbs in the regular trash, go ahead and do so. Wrap them in a plastic sheet to prevent the escape of hazardous chemicals in case the bulb breaks.

It will also keep the broken pieces confined, ensuring no one in the trash truck gets harmed by them.

Go to the Waste Facility

In some regions, you may have to take the broken LEDs to a specific waste facility. Take your LED bulbs to your local facility and follow the recommended procedure to dispose of the waste. 

Do not merely dump the bulbs in your local waste management facility. Call them and ask if they allow LED bulbs’ disposal.

If you have recycling facilities in your area, it’s better to recycle LED bulbs rather than dumping them in the trash. 

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Recycling LED bulbs is good for the environment and allows you to practice eco-friendly living. Search for recycling plants in your region and enquire if they accept LED bulbs.

Simply search for ‘recycle LED bulbs’ followed by the name of your city or state to find relevant information.

People living in the US can find recycling facilities through Recyclenation by entering their zip code.

Once you have found the information, take the bulbs to the facility. Before you go, double-check the information on their website by giving them a call.

Often, companies and local governments do not update their sites for months.

Mail-in Facilities 

For facilities that are not in your driving distance, you can ask if they accept recycling material through the mail.

Some companies allow you to send lights via their mail-in facility. If they also accept LED lights, you can save a lot of money on gas.

These companies separate the glass and aluminum and forward them to appropriate recyclers. You can also send colored bulbs as the recycling process is pretty much similar.

Make sure you discuss all the details with the facility before mailing them your recycling waste. Otherwise, you’ll end up paying double shipping costs for the unaccepted products.

Hardware Stores

If there’s no recycling facility nearby, you can also ask hardware stores if they take LED bulbs. Some home supply stores will take the bulbs off your hands and recycle them.

Make sure you give the lights to trusted hardware stores. Sometimes, local hardware stores take their required components out of the light bulbs and throw away the rest.

This defeats the whole purpose of reusing LED bulb rather than dumping them in your waste bin.

Disposing String Lights

Nowadays, most holiday string lights use LED bulbs. After the festivities are over, you can either store the lights for next year or recycle them.

The good news is that these lights are easily recyclable, and Home Depot recycled over 2.5 million string lights in the past ten years.

If your local Home Depot does not accept string lights, you can ask them about a nearby branch that does.

Also, you can send your holiday lights to HolidayLEDs or other companies like this to get your lights recycled.

Along with recycling your old lights, they also give you a discount coupon for your next purchase. So, it’s a win-win.

Companies like Christmas Light Source donate the money generated from recycling to charities such as Toys for Tots.

Don’t throw away the whole string if one of the bulbs is not working. You can replace this bulb instead of reducing waste and save money.

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How are LED Lights Recycled?

When you take the LED lights to the recycling facilities, they’re separated from the other lights and sorted.

Then, they are crushed into small pieces. A bar screen is used to separate different constituents of a light bulb.

Since LED bulbs may also contain iron, they have to pass through a magnetic field. The pull from this field removes iron residues from the crushed bulb.

As mentioned earlier, LED bulbs also contain lead. The recyclers remove this using a non-ferrous separator, which sends strong blasts of air through the mixture. This process separates lead and aluminum from other metals.

The aluminum can be used for making new products while the glass is used to make bulbs or other items.

Recycling glass is feasible as glass does not degrade. So, you can recycle it again and again. On the contrary, the glass dumped in landfills simply fills up space and damages the environment.  

Benefits of Recycling LEDs

During their lifetime, LED bulbs are beneficial to the environment, and recycling them can make them eco-friendly even after their expiration.

LED bulbs contain chemicals like lead, nickel, and arsenic that can be harmful to the environment when present in copious amounts.

Along with hurting the environment, these chemicals are also detrimental to human health. Arsenic and lead poisoning of water lead to digestive, reproductive, and cognitive problems.

Judging from this, it is essential to focus on recycling LED bulbs, especially since their popularity has increased in recent times.

Recycling will allow the same glass to make new bulbs for subsequent use and reduce water consumption.

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LED light bulbs are a huge trend these days, so it’s only likely that their waste will increase in the coming years. However, as they last longer, they wouldn’t pose a threat as big as incandescent or halogen lights.

Until manufacturers come up with an eco-friendly plan for disposing or reusing LED bulbs, your light waste will keep filling the landfills.

Recycling LED lights can help in reducing the burden on landfills so make an effort to recycle as much as possible. Hopefully, this article would have educated you on how to dispose of LED bulbs in multiple ways.

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