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Take a room-by-room tour of ENERGY STAR @ home and learn what you can do this fall to save energy, save money and help protect our environment in your own home.

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The Home Energy Saver (HES) empowers homeowners and renters to save money, live better, and help the earth by reducing energy use in their homes.


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Home > Recycling


Energy savings lighting products like fluorescent lighting and compact fluorescent bulbs play a significant role in energy conservation efforts. Mercury is an essential element of fluorescent lighting and allows them to be more energy efficient. Traces of Mercury contained in fluorescent light bulbs can be harmful if not handled and disposed properly.

Here is a list of valuable resources for consumers to understand the negative aspects of mercury, disposal and recycling information:

Energy Star

Mercury is an essential element in the operation of fluorescent lighting; it allows the bulbs to be an efficient light source. Because CFLs contain trace amounts of mercury, it is important to educate yourself on proper use, recycling and disposal of these products.

The Facts about CFLs and Mercury

- Because CFLs use less electricity than traditional light bulbs, they reduce demand for electricity; that reduction means less mercury is emitted from power plants.
- CFLs contain a very small amount of mercury an average of 4 milligrams in each bulb.
- No mercury is released when the bulbs are intact or in use.

Recycling and Disposing of CFLs

Like any other product containing potentially hazardous materials that you use in your home, CFLs come with some special instructions.

Learn more about Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs and Mercury at ENERGY STAR

What precautions should I take when using CFLs in my home?

CFLs are made of glass and can break if dropped or roughly handled. Be careful when removing the bulb from its packaging, installing it, or replacing it. Always screw and unscrew the light bulb by its base (not the glass), and never forcefully twist the CFL into a light socket. If a CFL breaks in your home, follow the clean-up recommendations below. Used CFLs should be disposed of properly.

Learn more about what you should do if a CFL breaks in your home at ENERGY STAR (Open pdf)

CFLs and Mercury Fact Sheet at ENERGY STAR (Open pdf)

Source: Energy Star

U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency has a comprehensive database of resources at the link below:

Source: EPA

Mercury Information at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is your one-stop shop for all you need to know about reducing your impact, reusing what youve got and recycling your trash.

Their recycling database can help you find over 100,000 recycling locations across the country. With information provided by local governments, industry insiders, organizations and everyday consumers, you can recycle hundreds of products including lighting products like fluorescent lamps, ballasts and compact fluorescent bulbs.

Follow the link below for more information:

Source: was developed by the lamp section of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association to provide a one-stop source of information about spent fluorescent and high intensity discharge lamp recycling. Under Federal hazardous waste laws, lamp users are responsible for complying with disposal standards.

Their website contains:

- Information about Federal and state regulatory spent lamp management requirements, and state information contacts.
- Lists of companies that are in the business of handling and recycling spent lamps. NEMA does not endorse or recommend any company involved in such businesses and encourages users to environmentally audit any firm that they use in the management of spent lamps.

Follow the link below for more information: