As of October 1, 2005, fluorescent light bulbs and tubes are no longer accepted in the garbage or at King County Transfer Stations. King County recommends that these products be recycled at one of the Take it Back Network recyclers.
In 2015, the LightRecycle Washington product stewardship program for mercury-containing lights began. Established under Washington's second product stewardship law where manufacturers are responsible for providing a convenient recycling system for their product, lighting manufacturers add an environmental handling charge to the purchase price of mercury-containing light bulbs and tubes sold at retail in Washington to cover the costs of proper recycling. Find a recycling location near you on the LightRecycle Washington website (external). Many Take it Back Network members participate in LightRecycle Washington.
Take it Back Network recyclers accept fluorescent bulbs and tubes and recycle them domestically in an environmentally sound manner. Learn more in the Take it Back Network recycling brochure (PDF, 173 K).
Be sure to read the vendor descriptions and call first to verify that they will accept your equipment. Some vendors accept items by appointment only.
Most Take it Back organizations charge a fee to cover the cost of labor to take apart the equipment and to transport the materials to a processing facility. Read the detailed description of their services and the fees by clicking on the name of the vendor. The fees change frequently so call first to verify the cost of the recycling service.
Environmentally Sound Recycling
The organizations listed in the local Take it Back Network have agreed to recycle the materials in an environmentally sound manner, either domestically, within nations that belong to the European Union (EU) or within countries that are members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (external). Learn more about the membership requirements to join the Take it Back Network.
Other Recycling Companies
For a list of fluorescent tube and bulb and tube recyclers that are not in the Take it Back Network, go to the What Do I Do With…? Web site and select "Fluorescent Lights" from the drop-down menu.
Note that the businesses and organizations that are not Take it Back Network members have not agreed to the Take it Back Network membership requirements and may export their equipment to countries that have less stringent environmental regulations. Before you pay a fee to have your materials processed, be sure to ask the recycler for documentation about where and how the materials are recycled to ensure the materials are being handled properly.
Updated: Mar. 20, 2017