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Fluorescent lamps

It is illegal to dispose of this item in the trash in Chittenden County, VT.

Disposal options

In Vermont, it is illegal to dispose of mercury-containing bulbs in the trash.


CFL types

  • A. Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs)
    • This includes fluorescent bulbs with screw-in bases in a number of shapes, and pin-base CFLs. Bring any quantity to the Environmental Depot (Chittenden County residents and businesses only) or to a Drop-Off Center for no charge.
  • B. Other general mercury-containing lamps
    • 10 or fewer: Bring to any Drop-Off Center or the Environmental Depot for no charge. In addition to CSWD collection locations, there are over 100 retail collection sites for fluorescent bulbs throughout the state. Visit LampRecycle.org to find other locations near you. Limitations apply.
    • More than 10: MUST go to the Environmental Depot (fees may apply).
    • This includes: straight, circular and U-shaped fluorescent tubes, HID (high intensity discharge) bulbs.
  • C. Specialty mercury-containing lamps (not pictured)

    • Bring them to the  CSWD Environmental Depot (fees may apply). Please call ahead (802-865-4663) to schedule an appointment.
    • This includes tanning bulbs, UV radiation tubes used for water treatment or medical applications, neon bulbs, projector or other audio visual bulbs, and mercury-xenon automotive bulbs.These types of bulbs are not accepted at any Drop-Off Center.


A. CFLs: No charge for any quantity.

B. Other general purpose lamps: No charge for up to 10 per day. Fees may apply to larger quantities, accepted at the Environmental Depot only.

C. Specialty lamps: Fees may apply; accepted at the Environmental Depot only.


Intact bulb disposal:

  • Please place bulbs in their original box (if possible) or otherwise secure them to prevent breakage during storage and transport. Please do not tape bulbs together.

Broken bulb disposal:

  • If a bulb breaks, follow these clean-up tips. Bring the bulb and the remaining debris (contained in a sealed plastic bag) to the DOCs or to the Environmental Depot. Due to hazardous waste and safety regulations, customers are limited to 5 broken bulbs per day at DOCs. Larger quantities must be brought to the Environmental Depot. Fees may apply for large quantities of broken mercury containing bulbs.

WHY are mercury containing lamps banned from landfills?

  • Mercury is a highly toxic heavy metal. When lamps are improperly disposed of, mercury can be released into the environment in the form of an invisible vapor or a bead. While the amount of mercury in these lamps is not believed to be enough to cause illness, it is best to avoid any exposure to mercury and prevent its release into the environment where it can damage our lakes and streams and poison fish and wildlife. In a typical compact-fluorescent bulb, there is only enough mercury to fill the letter “o” in the word “GOD” on a dime.
  • A law went into effect July 1, 2012 governing the collection and recycling of mercury containing light bulbs in Vermont. More on this law may be read at lamprecycle.org.