Light Bulb Recycling: Why and How

Light bulb recycling rarely gets the same attention as glass, paper, or metal, but it is very important for our environment and our health.

A bunch of old light bulbs

After upgrading your lighting from the incandescent or CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) bulbs to the more efficient LED (light emitting diode) versions you may have asked yourself: What do I do with these unused bulbs?

Don’t throw them in a box in the basement, recycle them! Light bulb recycling rarely gets the same attention as glass, paper, or metal, but it is very important for our environment and our health for the following reasons:

  • The raw materials inside light bulbs can be reused. Reusing these materials (e.g., metal, glass) helps avoid additional drain on energy and resources that would be required to make entirely new bulbs.

  • There are hazardous materials inside some bulbs. For example, CFLs contain mercury, which, if dumped into a landfill, could seep into ground water and contaminate drinking supply.

  • Depending on where you live, it may be prohibited by law to through bulbs in the trash. Such laws exist to encourage reuse and avoid hazardous material contamination, as well as to avoid tossing more into already-overloaded landfills. 

To help you find local places to take your bulbs we have included a flyer on local light bulb recycling resouces that is given to homeowners at the end of a home energy audit.

Download the handout here.

Light Recycling Resources


The locations listed below offer recycling services to local residents for CFL and LED bulbs, sometimes for free. There may be limitations on drop-off quantities. Please call your nearest location for more details. CFLs contain mercury and must be recycled properly per Minnesota regulations. LEDs are considered electronics and also must be recycled properly per state regulations.

Anoka County (free)
Anoka County Household Hazardous Waste Facility
3230 101st Ave NE
Blaine, MN 55449
(763) 324-3400
Carver County (free; limit 25 per year)
Environmental Center
116 Peavey Cir
Chaska, MN  55318
(952) 361-1835
Dakota County (free)
Dakota County Recycling Zone
3365 Dodd Rd
Eagan, MN 55121
(651) 905-4520
Hennepin County (free; limit 25 CFLs per year)
Brooklyn Park:
Hennepin County Recycling Center and Transfer Station
8100 Jefferson Hwy
Brooklyn Park, MN 55445
(612) 348-3777
South Hennepin Recycling and Problem Waste Drop-Off Center
1400 W 96th St
Bloomington, MN 55431
(612) 348-3777

Ramsey County (free)
Bay West
5 Empire Dr
St. Paul, MN 55103
(651) 633-3279
Scott County (free)
588 Country Trl E
Jordan, MN 55352
(952) 496-8787
Washington County
4039 Cottage Grove Dr
Woodbury, MN 55129
(651) 275-7475


Incandescent and halogen bulbs do not contain any hazardous materials but still can be recycled at specific locations that recover the glass and aluminum. Some of the locations listed above may also accept incandescent bulbs, but we encourage you to call ahead.


Batteries Plus Bulbs
Incandescent & halogen bulbs: Maplewood; West St. Paul; Spring Lake Park; St. Louis Park; Eagan; Brooklyn Park; Bloomington

Halogen bulbs only: Plymouth
Most locations also accept LEDs.
Fees May Apply
Green Lights Recycling
10040 Davenport St NE
Blaine, MN 55449
(763) 785-0456
Fees Apply

Tech Dump
860 Vandalia St
Saint Paul, MN 55114
(612) 260-9427
Fees Apply
Tech Dump
825 Boone Ave N, #100
Golden Valley, MN 55427
(763) 432-3117
Fees Apply

Check your local hardware store or municipal recycling center for more incandescent and halogen recycling options. CFL/LED recycling locations (listed above) may also take incandescent or halogen bulbs, but we encourage you to call for more details. There may be additional recycling locations available to you that are not listed here.

outside resources

EPA's guidelines on recycling and disposal of CFL's

Guidelines on how to properly dispose of bulbs that contain mercury such as CFLs.

New York Times: America’s Light Bulb Revolution

Article describing the change in light bulb technology and use.