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Fluorescent Bulbs, Ballasts and CFL Disposal

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Residential Recycling

Fluorescent light bulbs contain mercury. Discarding used bulbs in the trash allows the mercury to enter the environment. (Halogen bulbs do not contain mercury.)

Ballasts are the small metal box-shaped devices that hold the fluorescent light bulbs. Ballasts are not the bulbs. They are recycled for metal. However, older styles may contain hazardous wastes like PCBs and DEHP which would require special handling for disposal.

There are no regulations governing disposal by residents. Small quantities of bulbs may be disposed of in the trash, but a preferred option would be to recycle them.

City of Longmont Programs

Additional Resources

Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb (CFLs) Drop Off Locations in Longmont

  • Ace Hardware at 1727 Main Street
  • Home Depot at 393 S. Hover
  • Lowe's at 355 Ken Pratt
Please call the locations to find out more about these programs and any fees.  This list compiled for information only.  Inclusion  of businesses on this list is not promotion by the City of Longmont.  Call number on left to have your business information added to this list.

Ballast Drop Off Location in Longmont

  • Batteries Plus at 1020 Ken Pratt
Please call the locations to find out more about these programs and any fees.  This list compiled for information only.  Inclusion  of businesses on this list is not promotion by the City of Longmont.  Call number on left to have your business information added to this list.

Boulder County and Colorado

 

Business Recycling

Regulations Associated with Bulb Disposal

Businesses that generate hazardous wastes (large and small quantity generators and conditionally exempt generators: LQG, SQG, CESQG) are required to properly manage the disposal of fluorescent light bulbs according to the Colorado Hazardous Waste Regulations. Under these regulations, proper disposal is through a recycler. For a copy of the regulations concerning fluorescent light bulbs, contact the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. For a current list of local recyclers, refer to "Ecocyle's Guide to Hard-to-Recycle Materials" (http://www.ecocycle.org).

There are vendors that provide the recycling service upon purchase of new bulbs. Contact your light bulb vendor for more information.

There are low mercury fluorescent light bulbs available. These may not fall under the current disposal requirements. Contact manufacturers for more information. These bulbs would contain an amount of mercury that is below the hazardous waste determination level. Because there is still mercury in them, it is best to recycle.

Regulations Associated with Ballast Disposal

Businesses disposing of ballasts containing hazardous wastes may have special handling requirements. (These are not applicable to residents.)

Some older style ballasts contain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and are regulated under the Toxic Substances Control Act. Newer ballasts will be labeled "No PCBs". If the ballast is not labeled, assume it contains PCBs. Contact the Toxic Substance Control Act assistance information hotline at (303) 312-6312 for information on proper disposal.

Under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), the reportable quantity of PCB is once pound (about 10 ballasts) in a 24 hour period. Failure to report is a violation of CERCLA Section 103. Reporting does not absolve businesses from liability under CERCLA.

If the ballast is punctured, the PCB may leak. It will appear as a black oily substance. Leaking ballasts cannot be discarded in the trash. They (and all material to come into contact with the PCBs) must be incinerated. Contact the Toxic Substance Control Act assistance information hotline at (303) 312-6312 for information on proper disposal.

Some ballasts contain di (2-ethylhexyl) phathatlate (DEHP). This chemical is listed as a hazardous waste under the Resource Recovery Act. But once used in ballasts, it is no longer considered hazardous waste. Disposal need only be reported to the National Response Center (1-800-424-8802) if over 100 pounds of DEHP (about 1600 ballasts) is disposed in a 24 hour period.

Additional Resources

 

Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb (CFLs) Drop Off Locations in Boulder County

  • Boulder County Business Recycling at 1901 63rd Ave in Boulder

Ballast Drop Off Location in Boulder County

  • Batteries Plus  at 1020 Ken Pratt Boulevard
  • Wise Recycling at 622 Missouri Avenue
  • Eco-cycle
Please call the locations to find out more about these programs and any fees.  This list compiled for information only.  Inclusion  of businesses on this list is not promotion by the City of Longmont.  Call number on left to have your business information added to this list.

 

 

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