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Fluorescent & Other Mercury-Added Bulbs

Vermont collection of Mercury lamps will now be managed by a new stewardship organization called Mercury Lamp Recyclers Association (MLRA) instead of NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturers Association).

MLRA submitted a draft 4-year Plan on January 26th. Danielle Myers ( will continue to be the contact for this EPR program and mercury thermostat recycling. MLRA will continue to utilize Veolia for most collection and recycling of mercury lamps and will also continue the reimbursement option.

To summarize the changes from the previous plan:

  • MLRA will send postcard reminders to locations that have not shipped a container within six months as opposed to nine months in the 2020 plan.
  • MLRA will revise the site locator list on on a quarterly basis instead of annually.
  • MLRA will create new branded materials for collection locations, including collateral applicable to outdoor use.

The draft plan is also on the Environmental Notice Bulletin,, where it is open for public comments until March 15, 2024. Please send any comments to

On March 12 at 10:00, DEC will host a virtual Q&A session with Danielle of MLRA to answer questions about the plan. Please send an email to if you’d like an invitation to the session.

Mercury-Containing Light Bulbs Must Be Recycled

To find a collection site near you, enter your zip-code at

Mercury Elemental Symbol "Hg"Any mercury-containing bulb, regardless of the amount of mercury, cannot be discarded in the trash. Mercury-containing light bulbs manufactured after November 30, 2003 will be labeled, on the bulb itself, with "Contains Mercury" or the symbol "Hg" within a circle (Hg is the scientific symbol for mercury on the periodic table of elements). 

Do not crush mercury-added bulbs. Bulbs should be stored in ways that avoid breakage as crushing releases mercury vapors that may pose health and environmental risks. Broken bulbs are hazardous waste.

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

How to Recycle Mercury-Containing Light Bulbs 

Vermont's Lamp Law established a manufacturer-funded collection and recycling program for general purpose mercury-containing bulbs.

Vermont residents, small businesses, and institutions (such as schools) can recycle certain mercury-containing bulbs for free at municipal and retail locations across the state. To find a collector near you, enter your zip-code at

A photo of three mercury-containing light bulbs



UNLIMITED - Compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL)
MAXIMUM OF 10 PER VISIT – 2' to 8’ fluorescent tubes, U-tubes, circular, HID, and mercury vapor bulbs


If you have larger quantities of non-CFL bulbs or mercury-containing bulbs that are not included in the free recycling program, 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 a commercial lamp recycler (a business that collects and recycles mercury, glass, and metal components). If it is not possible to use any of the previous options, bulbs should be handled by a licensed hazardous waste transporter.

Learn more about storing, properly recycling, and cleaning up breakages of mercury-containing lightbulbs in this FACT SHEET. maintains a list of current manufacturers with approved collection plans.  


NOTICE: restriction on sale of mercury-containing lightbulbs. Mercury is highly toxic and energy-efficient alternatives are widely available. The following fluorescent lamps (lightbulbs) shall not be sold, offered for sale, or delivered to a retailer for subsequent sale in the state of Vermont.

CFL Lightbulbs

 February 17, 2023 – Restriction on sale of screw-based, mercury-containing, compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs).  Learn more in  the Agency determination and comments.


Fluorescent light tube

 January 1, 2024 - Act No. 120. This act prohibits the sale or distribution in the State of four-foot general purpose, low pressure,  mercury-containing linear fluorescent lamps (tubes).


GU-24 CFLs

 January 1, 2024 - Restriction on sale of general-purpose GU-24 twist-lock based, mercury-containing, compact fluorescent lightbulbs  (CFLs).  Agency determination.



NOTE: The restriction on sale is for bulbs that meet all three criteria (the top 3 bulbs on the left are some common examples): general purpose (general purpose use--no specialty bulbs); screw-based (any compact fluorescent bulb with a screw base, but no pin based compact fluorescent bulbs); mercury-containing (bulbs that contain mercury will be labeled "Hg and/or contains mercury" on the bulb and/or the package.

January 1, 2024 – Act No. 120. This act prohibits the sale or distribution in the State of four-foot general purpose, low pressure, mercury-containing linear fluorescent lamps (tubes).

For more information contact