How To Dispose Of LED Light Bulbs

LED light bulbs are a popular energy-efficient way to light a room, whether for decorative or general light purposes.

As they use up to 75% less energy than a regular light bulb, it makes sense why people turn to LED lights to brighten up a room. 

As with any light bulb, LED lights don’t last forever. Whether they have burned out or have broken another way, you’ll have to dispose of them at some point.

However, when you’re trying to be more conscious about the environment, you don’t want to simply throw them in the trash. 

If you want to know how to dispose of LED light bulbs properly, here’s everything you need to know. 

Can You Recycle LED Light Bulbs?

Everyone knows that recycling is arguably the most environmentally-friendly way to dispose of something.

However, this only counts for items and objects that can be recycled depending on the material it is made of, and what your local recycling plant accepts to be recycled. 

Fortunately for the case of LED light bulbs, most LED light bulbs can be recycled! This means that these bulbs are as eco-friendly in use as well as when they’re no longer in use.

Once recycled, you’ll know that the material from the bulbs will eventually be used to make something in the future. 

However, it’s important to check the packaging of the bulb before you recycle them.

While it might seem harmless to assume all LED bulbs can be recycled, you never know if that particular product needs to be disposed of differently.

You can also contact your local recycling facility to ask if they will accept the type of bulb. 

The reason why not all recycling facilities will accept LED bulbs is because these bulbs contain a small amount of electronic parts inside them.

Unless there is a substantial amount of the bulbs for the recycling facility to make something out of these electronic parts, there’s a chance they might refuse to take them in. 

Not only will the local council or recycling facility be able to tell you if your particular bulb can be recycled, but they’ll also tell you how to recycle it.

Most LED bulbs can be simply thrown into a recycling bag along with other recyclable materials, but you might have to dispose of them directly at the facility, depending on where you live.

Can I Throw LED Light Bulbs In The Trash?

While it might seem the most convenient option, you should refrain from simply throwing your old LED light bulbs in the trash. 

This isn’t because the bulbs are dangerous to keep in a landfill, but more because there is a much more efficient way to dispose of them.

Recycling might sound like a chore, but depending on where you live, all you need is a recycling bag and fill it with recyclable materials. 

Once recycled, the LED light bulbs will be used to make something new. This will include everything from the glass shell to the tiny microchips that are responsible for carrying the current to work as a light. 

So, try to refrain from throwing LED light bulbs in the trash, unless you cannot recycle them. 

Are Broken LED Lights Hazardous?

So, if you’ve got a broken LED light bulb ready to be disposed of, you might be wondering if the bulb is hazardous.

While most CFL (compact fluorescent light) bulbs contain mercury, this isn’t to say that LED bulbs are free from hazardous materials. 

Let’s set the record straight – LED lights are technically hazardous. As with all electrical equipment, they contain lead, silver, arsenic, and nickel.

While these materials are essential for the use of the electrical equipment, they can be hazardous to humans in large doses.  

However, that doesn’t mean you should worry about disposing or handling an LED light bulb.

The amount of lead, nickel, arsenic, and silver in the bulb will not be enough to cause a threat to a human or landfill.

It’s only when the bulb is severely broken that it might be problematic, but this doesn’t happen often due to the sturdiness of the bulbs. 

So, if you’ve got a broken bulb to dispose of, then you should check with your local recycling facility to see whether they’d accept the bulb or not.

In the majority of cases, however, they will still accept the bulb, broken or not.

To be on the safe side, it’s best to sweep up the broken bulb with a dustpan and brush, and place the broken shards into a sealed container.

Not only will this prevent the recycling bag from ripping, but it’ll also protect the hands of workers in the recycling facility. 

How Long Do LED Light Bulbs Last?

Fortunately, you shouldn’t have to worry about disposing of LED light bulbs too often, as they have an average lifespan of up to 50,000 hours. In comparison, a regular incandescent bulb will only last 1,200 hours. 

The long lifespan of LED light bulbs is one of the main reasons why they are so eco-friendly.

With up to 50,000 hours of use (roughly 2083 days or almost 6 years), you won’t need to constantly dispose and replace these bulbs, thus contributing to the ever-growing wastage of bulbs in landfills. 

How To Dispose Of LED Light Bulbs – A Summary

To put it simply, the only way to dispose of LED lights is to recycle them.

The vast majority of LED light bulbs are made of completely recyclable materials, meaning they can be easily recycled and made into something else.

Of course, this depends on the rules of your local council or recycling facility. 

Sure, you can throw LED light bulbs into the trash, but given the fact that these bulbs are designed to be eco-friendly, it’s best to recycle them.

This even counts for broken LED bulbs, which can still be recycled even when the bulb is shattered. 

Alternatively, you can always find a way to upcycle an old LED light bulb if you are creatively inclined!