Fluorescent Bulbs

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Now you can bring your household fluorescent bulbs for recycling!

Contact your local VIWMA Household Hazardouse Waste (HHW) Collection Center for more information:

St. Croix: (340) 712-4962            St. Thomas: (340) 775-5031

Flyer cover The VI Waste Management Authority is kicking off its Fluorescent Bulb Collection and Disposal Program. Through this program, residents will be able to bring their spent bulbs to the Authority for disposal at designated times and locations. Fluorescent bulbs are to be submitted boxed and unbroken.

Fluorescent bulbs contain mercury, a toxic metal is used to make fluorescent lamps as well as thermometers. Mercury can contaminate our air, soil and water. Side effects to exposure include risk for learning disabilities, motor skill impairment and short-term memory loss. The mercury from one fluorescent bulb can pollute 6,000 gallons of water beyond safe levels for drinking.

Fortunately there are companies that are able to recycle almost all of the components of a fluorescent bulb, and VIWMA is working to ensure that recyclable materials will not go to landfill.

> Download a Fluorescent Bulb Flyer in PDF format

Here are a few tips if you accidentally break a fluoresent bulb:

  1. Open a window and leave the room for 15 minutes or more.
  2. Carefully scoop up the fragments and powder with stiff paper or cardboard and place them in a sealed plastic bag.
    • Use disposable rubber gloves, if available (i.e., do not use bare hands). Wipe the area clean with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes and place them in the plastic bag.
    • Do not use a vacuum or broom to clean up the broken bulb on hard surfaces.
  3. Place all cleanup materials in a second sealed plastic bag.
    • Place the first bag in a second sealed plastic bag and put it in the outdoor trash container or in another outdoor protected area for the next normal trash disposal.
    • Wash your hands after disposing of the bag.
  4. If a fluorescent bulb breaks on a rug or carpet:
    • First, remove all materials you can without using a vacuum cleaner, following the steps above. Sticky tape (such as duct tape) can be used to pick up small pieces and powder.
    • If vacuuming is needed after all visible materials are removed, vacuum the area where the bulb was broken, remove the vacuum bag (or empty and wipe the canister) and put the bag or vacuum debris in two sealed plastic bags in the outdoor trash or protected outdoor location for normal disposal.
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