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The LightRecycle Washington program began on January 1, 2015 for the collection and recycling of mercury-containing lights sold at retail.

A network of collection sites has been established throughout Washington State that includes retailers, municipal waste facilities, collection events, and residential curbside collection. Washington State residents and businesses can recycle up to 10 mercury-containing lights per day for free, by dropping them off at authorized Collection Sites throughout the State.

Recycling mercury-containing lights protects the environment and human health by reducing the release of mercury, a potent neurotoxin.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is LightRecycle Washington?

    LightRecycle Washington is a non-profit program that allows all Washington State residents to safely and conveniently recycle mercury-containing lights at no charge. The Program began January 1, 2015.

  • What types of lights are accepted?

    LightRecycle Washington accepts all mercury-containing lights including lamps, bulbs, tubes, or other devices that contain mercury and provide functional illumination in homes, businesses, and outdoor stationary fixtures.

    The main categories of mercury-containing lights accepted by LightRecycle Washington are:

    1. Fluorescent tubes up to 8-feet in length, including straight (linear), u-shaped, circular and other curved shapes.
    2. All types and sizes of Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs)
    3. High Intensity Discharge Lights (HIDs).


    For more details on the products accepted, please refer to the accepted products page.

  • How many lights can I drop off for recycling?

    Washington State residents can drop off up to 10 lights per person per day at authorized Collection Sites.

  • Where do I drop off my lights for recycling?

    There are more than 200 authorized Collection Sites throughout Washington State. Use the Collection Site Locator to find a drop off location near you.

  • Do fluorescent and HID lights contain mercury and are they safe?

    Fluorescent lights (CFLs and fluorescent tubes) contain a small amount of mercury. As there is no safe level of exposure to mercury, care must be taken to ensure that materials are handled properly. The mercury from a compact fluorescent light or fluorescent tube is only released if the bulb is broken.

    Follow these few simple steps to safely handle, store and transport compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and fluorescent tubes:

    • Recycle all your CFLs and fluorescent tubes to keep mercury out of landfills
    • Remove and install the CFL only by handling the base of the bulb to prevent any unnecessary pressure on the glass that could cause it to break.
    • Store and transport CFLs and fluorescent lamps in containers such as original packaging that help prevent bulbs from breaking.
  • What about mercury-containing lights that have been accidentally broken?

    Accidentally broken fluorescent or HID lights are accepted by LightRecycle Washington Collection Sites as long as they are completely sealed in a plastic bag or other air-tight container. For details, visit our broken light clean-up instructions.

  • Why are fluorescent lights considered “green” if they contain mercury?

    Fluorescent lights are energy-efficient and consume far less electricity than standard incandescent bulbs and last significantly longer. Since the process of producing electricity often requires the use of fossil fuels, saving electricity helps protect the environment by reducing carbon and mercury emissions by power plants.

  • What do I do with products that are not accepted in the program?

    For light types (or quantities) that are not accepted by the Program, please contact your local Household Hazardous Waste facility or lamp recycling company for more information on light recycling services.

  • How is the program funded?

    LightRecycle Washington is funded by an Environmental Handling Charge or “EHC”. The EHC must be added to all mercury-containing lights sold at retail in Washington State. The EHC is used to cover program costs, including managing the transportation and recycling of collected products and the administration and promotion of the program.

    The EHC is subject to retail sales tax, as it is considered to be a part of the purchase price of the lights. Manufacturers or retailers may choose to build the EHC into the product price, or display it as a separate charge to consumers at the time of sale. The EHC is not a government tax nor is it remitted to the government.

  • Who manages the LightRecycle Washington program? Why was the program developed?

    LightRecycle Washington is managed by PCA Product Stewardship Inc, (PCA) a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. PCA is an affiliate of Product Care Association, a not-for-profit industry association that manages product stewardship programs for household hazardous and special waste on behalf of its members in the United States and Canada.

    LightRecycle Washington was developed pursuant to the requirements of the Mercury-Containing Lights – proper disposal law (Chapter 70.275 RCW) for the proper disposal of mercury-containing lights, which requires that all producers of mercury-containing lights sold at retail in or into Washington State must participate in an approved product stewardship program for these products.

  • How do I get more information?

    For more information, please contact us.