See our Lighting page for the recycling of lamps
Electrical lamps (which historically were only a simple light bulb) now come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, voltages, wattages, and operating principles. Some of the more common ones that are encountered in daily life are the incandescent lamps, CFLs, and fluorescent tubes, with LED lamps now increasingly being used as replacements and for new installations.
All lamps are able to be recycled and since some contain ecotoxic materials they should be collected to prevent environmental harm. Fluorescent lamps contain small amounts of mercury and many lamps, including incandescent, have leaded solder connections.
Older fluorescent lamps have a ballast that contains polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), a particularly hazardous substance. Special procedures are mandated by law for their storage, handling, and disposal.
From an environmental perspective and when looking at the complete life cycle analysis LED lamps are the best option. They have a longer lifetime and better energy efficiency than all of the other common forms of lighting.
- Electrical lights at Wikipedia
- Life cycle assessment of product stewardship options for mercury-containing lamps in New Zealand: Final report
- Comparative life cycle assessment of light bulbs: Incandescents and compact fluorescents – École Polytechnique de Montréal (2008)