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Maryland - CFL Campaign

Safe Disposal

CFL bulbs contain up to 5 milligrams of mercury, the amount that would cover the tip of a ballpoint pen, as compared to older home thermostats and mercury fever thermometers, which contain from 500 to 30,000 milligrams. If a CFL bulb breaks, the amount of mercury released can evaporate into the air where it will likely remain at an amount below the safety standards set by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration.  

CFLs are made of glass and can break if dropped or roughly handled. Be careful when removing the bulb from its packaging, installing it, or replacing it. Always screw and unscrew the lamp by its base (not the glass), and never forcefully twist the CFL into a light socket. CFLs are safe to use and no mercury is released while the bulbs are in use. If a CFL breaks in your home, follow these clean up disposal recommendations.

CFLs should be recycled if possible. If recycling is not an option, a CFL may be placed in the household trash. MDE strongly encourages consumers to take advantage of available local recycling options for CFLs. Some counties in Maryland have permanent sites for Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) collection, including CFLs, while others have collection events on certain dates throughout the year.  Information about individual county programs is available below or at http://www.mde.state.md.us/Programs/LandPrograms/Solid_Waste/cfl_mercury.asp