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How to Recycle Fluorescent Tubes

Easily dispose of old fluorescent lights when upgrading to LED lighting.

When you choose to upgrade to LED lighting, the old lighting has to be removed. Many people struggle with what to do with the old fluorescent tubes. Since fluorescent tubes contain the harmful chemical mercury, the best way to dispose of fluorescent tubes is to recycle them. However, old tubes can not just be placed in a standard recycling bin. To avoid the risk of damaging the environment, fluorescent tubes should be recycled as hazardous waste.

Hazardous waste recycling can get complicated, but we are here to help. ELEDLights is now offering recycling kits for 2ft U-bend, 4ft, and 8ft fluorescent tubes. You can add any of these kits to your cart when purchasing LED tubes (or after you’ve already ordered). Whether you have u-shaped, T8, or T12 fluorescent tubes, we have a recycling kit for you.

Recycle 2ft U-Shaped Tubes
Max Capacity: 30 Tubes
Standard Kit
4ft Tubes
Recycle 4ft Tubes
Standard Kit Max Capacity: 65
Jumbo Kit Max Capacity: 135
Standard Kit | Jumbo Kit
8ft Tubes
8ft Tubes
Standard Kit Max Capacity: 35
Jumbo Kit Max Capacity: 50
Standard Kit | Jumbo Kit

Why Recycle Fluorescent Tubes?

When fluorescent tubes are disposed of with normal waste or recycling, rather than as hazardous waste, the mercury in the tubes can leak out and harm the surrounding plants, wildlife, and people. The mercury can also contaminate water, leading to mercury poisoning in the people and animals that drink it. If caught, companies who decide to incorrectly dispose of fluorescent tubes can be fined up to $25,000.

However, if you recycle fluorescent tubes, virtually all the components can be reused in some way.

Recycle Graphic

The glass of your old tubes can be turned into new glass objects, the brass and aluminum from the end caps can be reused, the internal coating can be reprocessed for use in paint pigments, and even the mercury contained in the lamp can be reclaimed. So, rather than just being tossed into a landfill, old fluorescent tubes can be repurposed into something useful again!

Where Can Fluorescent Tubes be Recycled?

Unfortunately, stores with CFL (compact fluorescent lighting) recycling centers like Home Depot, Lowes, Ikea, and Walmart typically do not accept 4ft or 8ft fluorescent tubes. So, using a simple mail-back recycling kit is a good alternative. At ELEDLights, each of our recycling kits includes a:

  • Heavy-duty, recyclable cardboard box
  • Mercury-proof liner for hazardous leaks
  • Set of Velcro tabs and zip ties
  • Pre-paid return shipping label

When you choose to recycle with ELEDLights, you won't be surprised by any hidden costs or inconvenienced by a difficult process. Plus, if you have any questions, a member of our service team will be ready to help.

How to Use a Mail-Back Recycling Kit

  1. Add the recycling kit to your order and check out.
  2. Once your kit arrives, fill the lined, recyclable box with your fluorescent tubes.
  3. Seal the mercury-proof liner with the included zip ties.
  4. Put the included return label on the package and drop it at a FedEx location near you.
  5. The ELEDLights team and our recycling partners will handle the rest!

Pick-Up Recycling Services for Large Projects

For customers who have large quantities of lamps to recycle (typically over 400 tubes), we can arrange for pick-up services that include truck and trailer transportation options. If you have a large number of tubes to recycle, or if you don't see a kit that will suit your needs, reach out to our team and we will find the best solution for you. Call 215.355.7200 or email us at lights@eledlights.com to get started.