Lighting disposal


When it’s time to dispose of your lighting products, you can’t always just toss them in the trash. Many lighting products have specific disposal instructions, and some can be recycled. Following proper disposal practices helps ensure hazardous waste doesn’t harm anyone or contaminate the environment.

Here’s a guide to help you properly dispose of and recycle hazardous materials:


There are two types of hazardous waste in lighting products:

  • Mercury
  • Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs)


Most lamps that contain mercury either have a label that states “contains mercury” or the symbol “Hg” in a circle. The following lamps contain mercury:

  • Linear fluorescent lamps
  • Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs)
  • High Intensity Discharge (HID) lamps including mercury vapour, metal halide, and high-pressure sodium
  • Neon/argon lamps
Proper disposal of lamps containing mercury

Lamps containing mercury should be sent to, or picked up by a waste contractor.

If you have a lamp that’s still intact, place it in its original packaging and label it accordingly. If your lamp is broken, it should be treated as contaminated waste material. Put it in a sealable, non-metal container marked “broken lamp – contains mercury”.

The following companies can help you properly dispose of lamps containing mercury:

Clean Harbors

Environmental Disposal Solutions

Miller Environmental Corporation

Product Care Recycling


Before throwing out a lamp ballast, contact the manufacturer. They use distinct catalogue and date codes to identify products and check if hazardous materials are present. The following ballasts may contain PCBs:

  • Linear fluorescent ballasts manufactured before 1981
  • HID ballasts manufactured before 1981

Proper disposal of ballasts containing PCBs

Ballasts should only be removed by qualified personnel and only after the circuit has been de-energized. Once removed, place ballasts into a heavy mil, clear plastic bag. Next, place the bag into a labeled 205 litre steel waste drum with a sealable gasket lid, or a labeled 20 litre white plastic pail with a locking lid. Check with your waste contractor for labeling instructions.

The following companies can help you properly dispose of ballasts containing PCBs:

Clean Harbors

Miller Environmental Corporation


It’s always a good idea to carefully dispose of your lighting products, even when they’re not hazardous.

Incandescent & halogen lamps

Since incandescent and halogen bulbs are non-toxic, you can place them in your regular garbage. Be mindful of glass shards when throwing these away.

LED lamps

LEDs are non-toxic and can also be thrown out with your regular garbage; however, some parts of LEDs can be recycled. We recommend calling local disposal companies to see if they accept and recycle LEDs.

The following company can help you properly dispose of non-hazardous materials:

Environmental Disposal Solutions