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N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Environmental Assistance and Customer Service - Reduce

Environmental Assistance and Customer Service

Fluorescent Lights

Ways to Reduce Lamp Mercury Hazard 

Properly store and recycle fluorescent lamps:

Safe storage and recycling/disposal of lamps will help mitigate the potential mercury hazard:

  • Don't crush or break the lamps.
  • Store mercury-containing lamps in a manner that will prevent breakage. Ideally, unbroken used lamps should be packed in boxes.
  • Don't tape lamps together. Lamps stored in this manner can break by implosion.
  • Recycle used lamps.
Use lamps that contain less mercury:

Fluorescent lamps contain various amounts of mercury depending on the size and type of the bulb, and the manufacturer. Using the more efficient T5 or T8 lamps, rather than T12 lamps, reduces mercury content. Look for Energy Star qualified bulbs or green-tipped bulbs.

Use Light-Emitting Diodes:

LEDs are often used as small indicator lights on electronic devices and increasingly in higher power applications such as flashlights and area lighting. LEDs cost three times as much as a fluorescent tube, but last twice as long, contain no mercury and save 25 percent more energy.

Reduce use of lighting:

Turn out your lights and use daylight whenever possible, which will extend the use life of lamps, save energy, reduce power plant emissions of mercury and other pollutants and save money.

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