Mercury-added bulbs manufactured after November 30, 2003 will bear a label, which states, "Contains Mercury," or it will have the symbol "Hg" within a circle on the lamp (Hg is the scientific symbol for mercury on the periodic table of elements). This signifies that the bulb contains mercury. Any mercury-containing bulb, regardless of the amount of mercury, cannot be discarded in the trash.
The following types of bulbs contain mercury:
- Fluorescent, compact fluorescent, black lights.
- High intensity discharge bulbs (HID). These bulbs are commonly used in security, outdoor and warehouse lighting. HID lighting is becoming popular for indoor use in commercial settings. The following are HID bulbs: mercury vapor, metal halide, high pressure sodium
- HID lighting is also used in vehicle headlamps. HID headlamps can be identified by their characteristic bluish-white tint when lit.
- Ultraviolet bulbs
- Neon bulbs
Mercury Bulb Recycling Program
Vermont's Lamp Law provides a manufacturer-funded collection and recycling program for mercury-containing bulbs. Vermont residents, small businesses and institutions (such as schools) can recycle mercury-containing bulbs (including all fluorescent) at a number of municipal and retail locations across the state.
- Proposed NEMA Mercury Bulb Recycling Plan (rev April 17, 2017)
- DEC Response to NEMA
- DEC Responsiveness Summary
- NEMA Audit
UNLIMITED - Compact Fluorescent bulbs (CFL)
LIMIT 10 PER VISIT – 8’, 4’ or smaller linear fluorescent bulbs, U-tubes, Circular, etc.
If you have larger quantities of non-CFL bulbs, check with your local municipality or solid waste district for recycling options. Businesses who handle larger volumes of bulbs from change-outs or retrofits can contact a local electrical wholesaler who offers bulb recycling to their customers or contact a commercial lamp recycler (a business that collects and recycles mercury, glass and metal components) for disposal. If it is not possible to use any of the previous disposal options, bulbs should be disposed of through a licensed hazardous waste transporter.
The lamp law also requires that all manufacturers who sell mercury-containing bulbs in Vermont participate in Vermont's lamp recycling program: Lamp manufacturers currently authorized to sell mercury containing bulbs in Vermont