LED light bulbs are the hot new trend in energy-efficient lighting, but are they recyclable? Here’s what you should know about disposing of and recycling LEDs.
It’s great to see more and more people making more energy-efficient choices, as more “sustainable” options become available. But with these new options come new challenges.
For example, a few years ago CFL lightbulbs were all the rage, but as the bulbs contain a small amount of mercury, there was some worry about how to handle broken bulbs, or what do do with them once they burn out. Is disposing of these bulbs bad for the environment? Is it worse than incandescents? These are questions we must face every time a new technology arises.
Now LED bulbs are the hot new trend, boasting even higher efficiency than CFLs. But are they recyclable? And what considerations should we take into account when dealing with spent LED bulbs?
This short article sheds some light on the subject:
1. …Replacement of incandescent light bulbs is fast becoming a reality, and light-emitting diode or LED technology, is leading the way….
2. With an average life of nearly 50 times greater than an incandescent light bulb, and lasting even 6 times longer than that of its compact fluorescent bulb (CFL) counterpart, LED light bulbs seem like a great option to reduce your energy usage around the home. And it’s true. LED bulbs use up to 80% less energy than incandescent bulbs, so the energy savings are significant…. On top of these energy efficiency gains, LEDs are more durable, contain no mercury (unlike CFL bulbs) and produce almost no heat…. But despite the long-life advantage that LEDs offer, the time will come when you need a responsible way to recycle or repurpose these bulbs.
3. …Although LEDs don’t contain mercury, they are still known to contain significant levels of lead, nickel, arsenic and copper. In high quantities of exposure, these metals can prove harmful to humans, so proper disposal and recycling LEDs is a much preferred option over the landfill….
4. How To Recycle LEDs: When it comes to recycling your expired LED light bulbs, there are a number of options available. You can contact one of the thousands of local recycling centers across the country to inquire about recycling LEDs there. With the increased consumption of LED lights, many of these recycling centers have developed LED-recycling programs that reuse the valuable materials in the bulbs. Try a quick search online for information including specific recycling details or guidelines for your city.
5. Online Recycling: An even easier, more convenient option is to find a recycling depot that will take your burned out LED bulbs via mail, so you don’t even have to go to a recycling center. It’s possible to ship them to online recycling programs that do all the work for you at little to no cost to you.
6. Local Retailer Deposit Boxes are another option. Some stores have bins designed for collection of used bulbs…. For many years large retail giants such as IKEA and Walmart have been leading the way with in-store recycling, and many supermarkets have decided to get on board to offer recycling bins as well.