Can You Recycle LED Light Bulbs?

Can You Recycle LED Light Bulbs?

One of the true joys of owning LED light bulbs is the fact that they last an incredibly long time. 50,000 hours, in fact. This is fantastic for the environment, because not only will you be replacing them a lot less, but they consume very little power in comparison to standard light bulbs. Sadly, at some point, those LED light bulbs will burn out. So, can you recycle them? Let’s take a look, shall we?

As a general rule, LED light bulbs can be recycled. Some furniture stores and hardware stores accept LED bulbs for recycling. If they sell light bulbs then there’s a good chance they have a collection program. Major bulb manufacturers also accept old LED bulbs by mail.

Can You Recycle Them?

It is a lot more difficult to recycle LED light bulbs in comparison to other lightbulbs, but it is possible. It is estimated that an LED bulb is about 95% recyclable, which is a massive figure.

The problem is that there are not that many places that accept LED light bulbs for recycling. This is because they are so difficult to recycle, and unless you are processing a lot of lightbulbs, it is very cost prohibitive to deal with them.

You also have to remember that because LED light bulbs last such a long time and that they are so new, very few of them are actually being sent in for recycling as of yet. This means that nobody is really doing the research into making LED light bulb recycling more cost-effective.

If the LED light bulb is recycled, then the glass and the metal will be separated and they will be turned into new products. Any of the chemicals that are inside of the LED light bulbs will be disposed of in a safe manner.

It is worth noting that there are tons of different metals inside of the LED light bulb. This includes gold for the circuitry.

The problem is that because most LED light bulbs are so small, it is incredibly tough to recover all of the materials from them. As the world of LED light bulb recycling improves, you can expect more and more of the bulb to be recovered.

The figure may be 95% now, but we may see it reaching closer to 99% in the future (there will always be some part of the bulb that cannot be recycled properly). Now, this doesn’t mean you cannot recycle LED light bulbs. You absolutely can.

However, you may have to jump through a few hoops if you want to have your LED light bulbs recycled effectively. Let’s take a look, shall we?

Can I Recycle LED Bulbs at Home Depot?
Home Depot will recycle your used LED light bulbs as part of their recycling program. This keeps LEDs out of landfills and repurposes a majority of the materials used in their manufacture in an effort to minimize their impact on the environment.

Where Can You Recycle LED Light Bulbs?

The problem is that you will find that LED light bulbs will not be accepted by most recycling centers. Yes. They will accept standard light bulbs, but they will not accept LED light bulbs.

The reason for this is the fact that they simply do not have the equipment to recycle LED light bulbs. So, if you take your LED light bulbs there, they will either be rejected or end up in the standard trash.

Luckily, there are some places in the United States that will accept these bulbs. However, a lot of them have a mail-in program.

This means that you will need to mail them your old bulbs. Many of the top lighting manufacturers will have a program like this, or at least know where you can take part in a similar program.

You may also find that some larger stores in the United States will have places that you can drop off your bulbs too. This will normally be furniture stores or maybe some of the larger hardware stores. If a store sells lighting, then they will almost certainly have options available if you want to dispose of your old bulbs.

As we said, it does mean that you are going to need to be jumping through a few hoops if you want to be recycling your old LED light bulbs, but it is going to be 100% worth it if you care about the environment.

LED Light Bulbs

Why Recycle LED Light Bulbs?

Because it is for the good of the environment.

As we said before, LED light bulbs are more than just glass and metal. There are a lot of chemicals inside of them too. This includes lead, which, of course, is incredibly dangerous.

If some of these chemicals start to leak in a landfill (and they will eventually), they will get into the water supply. It can also kill the land for miles around. Nothing will ever be able to grow there, and animals will end up suffering.

Sure, a small LED bulb is probably not going to make that much of a difference here. However, imagine if millions of bulbs started to enter the landfills (and this will happen) think about how much damage this could cause to the environment.

You also have to remember that it takes a lot of energy to produce metals and glass for LED light bulbs. The resources we have to do this will be fairly limited too. By recycling LED light bulbs, we are going to be reducing the amount of demand for new materials on the market. This can, eventually, help to reduce the amount of pollution this planet is producing.

Do LED Bulbs Contain Mercury?
LED light bulbs contain no mercury. This, combined with the fact they use very little energy makes them relatively environmentally friendly surpassing compact fluorescent lights (CFLs).

Can You Put LED Light Bulbs in the Standard Trash?

You can. However, as we said before, the risk of pollution is so high that we wouldn’t really recommend it.

Let’s be honest, if you can recycle something, why wouldn’t you want to recycle it? Sure, it does require a small effort for you to be able to recycle them, but this is an effort that is not going to waste when you realize the huge benefit that you will be having on the environment once you start to get into the swing of your recycling.


You recycle LED light bulbs, and it is recommended that you do. While locations for recycling these bulbs are not as prevalent as other places throughout the United States, more are springing up all the time. No matter where you live, we are confident that you will find some way to recycle them.