Fluorescent Bulb Management Strategy

Bulbs and ballasts that require management

  • Any bulb with the HG symbol should not be disposed of in the trash
  • These bulbs contain mercury and should be reclaimed or recycled through an appropriate facility
  • The Fluorescent Bulb Reference Guide shows typical fluorescent and HID bulbs that contain mercury and the names often used for them
  • More recycling information can be found on the Community Resources and Links page.

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How to Create a Fluorescent Bulb Management Strategy
  1. Estimate how many bulbs you generate from your building site(s) based on the estimated square footage of your building
    • The industry average for bulbs per square feet is one bulb per every three square feet and the projected life of the standard fluorescent bulb is twenty thousand burn hours or just over two years--Source: OSRAM Sylvania
  2. Learn how to properly store and handle light bulbs
  3. Explore your light bulb disposal options
  4. Research private recycling and disposal services to get estimates for cost of recovery
  5. Select a contractor and ensure proper recycling*
  6. Educate your maintenance staff about how to implement the management strategy. Inform them of the importance of recovering all light bulbs that have the HG symbol
  7. Coordinate lamp storage, shipping or crushing logistics with appropriate staff (building engineer, maintenance workers, custodial staff, etc)
  8. Kick-off the management program with an informational meeting with participants to recruit their support
  9. Periodically review the program to evaluate its effectiveness and to make improvements.

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Safe Storage and Handling of Lamps
From the Know Toxics Universal
Waste & Used Electronics Training Manual
Information on safe storage and handling of lamps and bulbs

Take the Challenge!
Consider participating in the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality Office of Pollution Prevention Fluorescent Lamp Recycling Challenge.*


*External link. The Northern Virginia Regional Commission does not author third party sites and their reference is for educational purposes only.