Waste Management

Fluorescent Bulbs and Other Mercury-Containing Devices

Although fluorescent lamps save energy, thereby benefiting the environment, the mercury all fluorescent lamps contain is a highly toxic, heavy metal that can harm the environment when spent lamps are improperly disposed of. The 106 pounds of mercury annually generated by New Hampshire's 2.4 million spent lamps makes fluorescent lamps one of the largest sources of mercury in the state. Because there are few recycling or disposal options for homeowners or small businesses, only 20 percent to 30 percent of spent fluorescent lamps are properly recycled; the rest are generally tossed in the trash with serious environmental and health consequences.

What kind of lamps can be recycled?

  • 8' and 4' linear fluorescent bulbs
  • Compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs)
  • Linear fluorescent bulbs from tanning booths, black lights, grow lamps, etc.
  • Circular fluorescent bulbs
  • High Intensity Discharge car headlights
  • HID lights such as mercury vapor, metal halide, etc.

State Contract for Collection

The State of NH Department of Environmental Services contracts services for the collection of fluorescent bulbs. The purpose of the contract is to recycle/dispose of fluorescent lamps and ballasts, dry cell batteries and mercury devices for the State of New Hampshire agencies, institutions, political subdivisions (including municipalities) and authorized non-profit organizations. Click here to view the State contract including prices.

Other Collection Options

A lot of towns go through Northeast Resource Recovery Association in Epsom, NH. Some stores including Home Depot have collection boxes in their stores to collect CFLs (compact fluorescent lights) from the public--but not the tubes.