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June 8, 2012 > Safely recycle used light bulbs

Safely recycle used light bulbs

Submitted By Maddie Smith

Local retailers in Alameda County are now making it easy for residents to recycle fluorescent light bulbs at no cost. Administered by Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and StopWaste.Org, the "Bring 'Em Back" campaign encourages residents to bring used compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs and fluorescent tubes of all shapes and sizes to participating retail locations for proper disposal.

Currently, fluorescent bulbs cannot be recycled through residential curbside programs and should not be disposed of in landfills. Through "Bring 'Em Back," there are now 18 stores in Alameda County that will accept used fluorescent bulbs and tubes from residents. By bringing used CFLs to participating retailers, residents can be assured that they are disposing of fluorescent bulbs in a safe and environmentally friendly manner.

"Most people understand they can't throw away or recycle compact fluorescent bulbs with their bottles and cans, but they don't know what to do with them," says Judi Ettlinger of StopWaste.Org. "Now there is a convenient solution for residents in Alameda County."

To encourage residents to properly recycle their used fluorescent bulbs, Pete's Hardware (2569 Castro Valley Blvd., Castro Valley) will enter every resident who brings in a used fluorescent bulb or tube on Saturday, June 9 between 9 a.m.-1 p.m. into a drawing to receive a gift basket filled with state of the art energy efficiency products.

"We are excited to participate in 'Bring 'Em Back' and hope that, by encouraging residents to bring in their used CFLs on June 9, they will see how easy it is to properly recycle their fluorescent light bulbs and tubes going forward," says Linda Roark, owner of Pete's Hardware.

Fluorescent lamps are a cost-effective method to decrease your lighting bill and associated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. However, disposal of fluorescent lamps at the end of their useful life presents a challenge as they contain small amounts of mercury vapor that should not be returned to landfill. Fluorescent lamps were banned from disposal in California landfills in 2006. Through proper disposal, 99.9 percent of spent fluorescent lamps can be reclaimed through recycling.

"PG&E's work with Alameda County makes it easier for residents to safely dispose of their energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs and tubes at the end of their useful lives," says Jessica Waggoner, Program Manager of Government and Community Partnerships for PG&E. "Creating successful partnerships, like the ones we have forged with Alameda County, allows us to pursue our goals of helping customers reduce their energy use, while protecting the environment.."

To find a list of Alameda County stores participating in "Bring 'Em Back", residents can visit

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