In 2014, Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFL) became the preferred lighting choice when the Canadian government phased out the standard incandescent bulb. This was a logical decision because CFL technology is more energy efficient than the incandescent.
There is a concern that Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs and fluorescent tubes contain a small amount of mercury. Therefore burned out bulbs require a safe and careful disposal. To confirm if your bulbs contain mercury, look for the displayed Hg symbol. Millions of light bulbs containing mercury are disposed of in landfills every year. Unfortunately, this means that mercury vapor is being released into the environment.
To ensure they don’t break, Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs need to be handled gently. If a bulb containing mercury breaks, it is suggested that you leave the room for at least 15 minutes to allow the vapors to settle.
The following are some important points to remember for safe CFL clean-up and disposal.
Before Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb Clean-up
- Air out the room by opening the window or door.
- Turn off the central heating or air conditioning system to help avoid spreading the vapors.
During Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb Clean-up
- Always wear gloves to avoid contact with the mercury and getting cuts from the broken pieces.
- Use stiff papers or cardboard to scoop up the bigger broken pieces.
- Use duct tape or other sticky tape to pick up the remaining glass and powder.
- It is recommended to avoid using a bagless vacuum cleaner which may spread the mercury vapors and possibly contaminate the canister.
- Wipe the area with a damp paper towel to remove the leftover particles from the hard floor.
- Place all broken pieces in a glass container with a tight lid and place it outside of the home in a safe place. If you use a plastic bag, double bag.
- If a vacuum with a disposal bag is used, the bag should be carefully removed immediately after clean-up and discarded with other contaminated materials.
After Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb Clean-up
- Continue airing out the room. Keep the central air system off.
- Take the glass container or plastic bag to a recycling depot for proper disposal.
- Wash your hands after clean-up is complete.
To find a recycling depot in your area click HERE.