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Five Reasons Why Everyone Must Recycle Lightbulbs?

The lightbulb has been around since 1879, but it wasn’t until the 1930s that electrical lighting became commonplace in homes. Fast forward to today and the average house has 67 lightbulbs!

What happens to all these lightbulbs when they’re spent? Unfortunately, most lightbulbs are just chucked in the bin – a whopping 56% of British household rubbish still ends up in a landfill. Most people don’t currently recycle lightbulbs because you can’t put them in the kerbside recycling boxes.

But it’s essential to carefully dispose of lightbulbs so that the components are reused and toxic chemicals don’t leach into the ground. Let’s explore the reasons why everyone must recycle their lightbulbs:

Reasons To Recycle Lightbulbs

1. Keep Chemicals out of the Landfill
A large number of everyday lightbulbs contain small amounts of mercury. Mercury is found inside fluorescent tubes and compact fluorescent tubes (CFLs) and is usually in powder form. When the glass is smashed, the mercury is released into the air and it also leaks into the ground.

Mercury is known to cause harm to animals and fish so it is very important to keep it out of the land, sea, and rivers. Commercial buildings often use tube lighting in vast numbers. It is essential that companies recycle their lightbulbs, and fortunately, many commercial lighting suppliers offer this service. Stop toxins from leaching from the lightbulbs; make sure they are recycled properly every time.

2. Metals are Reused
There are small quantities of rare metals in some lightbulbs. Reusing these metals is much better for the environment as a lot less energy is used to recycle them than mining them afresh. Aluminum is frequently used in lightbulb production and it can be reused indefinitely.

Nothing is lost in the recycling process, in fact, aluminum is the most cost-effective material to recycle. Tungsten is often found in lightbulbs too and this is a recyclable metal that can be separated and reused.

3. Reuse the Glass Found in Most Lightbulbs
Glass takes thousands of years to decompose – that’s because microorganisms cannot break it down easily. Amazingly, glass is 100% recyclable and for every tonne that is reused, 1.2 tonnes of raw material is saved.

That reduces CO2 production and lowers water waste. Glass that ends up in a landfill just builds up indefinitely and as such, it should always be recycled. That includes all the glass used in lightbulbs.

4. Lightbulbs Contain Reusable Plastic Too
Plastic can be extracted from some light bulbs. The body of LED bulbs is often plastic, and this is a recyclable material. Fairy lights, LED strips, and Christmas lights can all be recycled with the plastic parts separated from the rest. We are all quite used to recycling plastic bottles, so why not light bulbs too?

5. Reduce our Impact on the Environment
We must all do our bit to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in the landfill. Lightbulbs might seem small and insignificant, but their numbers soon add up. As almost every home in the world has lightbulbs, the amount being thrown away every day is staggering. The ultimate goal is for every single lightbulb to be recycled and none of the material to be wasted.

How do you Recycle Lightbulbs?

If lightbulbs cannot go in the weekly recycling bin, how do you get rid of them responsibly? Luckily, it’s not difficult, in fact, you barely have to go out of your way. Most DIY chain stores now have a recycling station at the front of the shop, near the doors. There is often a battery recycling bin there too so you can safely dispose of everything at the same time. This is ideal if you are trying to reduce the waste in your life.

Many large supermarkets also offer recycling services, again there is often a place to put spent lightbulbs near the entrance. Popular electrical stores like Curry’s and Comet are providing places to put old electrical items as well as burnt-out lightbulbs, so there really is no excuse.

Local council recycling centers all have lightbulb disposal areas. These are sometimes quite small and possibly tucked out of the way, so you might have to ask how to find them. If you’re off to the recycling center with a car full, make sure you separate the lightbulbs and don’t break them en route.

Living a Responsible Life

It’s the small things that count when you what to live more responsibly. Along with recycling your old lightbulbs, swap to light-emitting diodes, known as LEDs, and reduce wasted energy.

LEDs are more efficient at producing light, which helps lower electricity usage and saves you money on your utility bills. LEDs last a lot longer too, meaning fewer will be made each year. For more great ideas, think about making your home more eco-friendly.

Author Bio:

Brosnan Property Solutions are a facility management business based in Ireland. They have a team of electricians in Cork that advise homeowners to recycle lightbulbs are they understand the importance f it for the environment. 

Photo by Daniele Franchi on Unsplash.