Disposing and Cleaning of Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL)

GE Lighting provides you all the information needed for the safe disposal and cleaning of Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL). What you need to do with a CFL when it burns out? What is the proper disposal procedure? What should you do if a CFL breaks? CFLs are safe to use in your home if you follow these simple guidelines.


Should I be concerned about using CFLs in my home or should I take any special precautions?

CFLs are safe to use in your home. No mercury is released when the lamps are in use and they pose no danger to you or your family when used properly. However, CFLs are made of glass tubing and can break if dropped or roughly handled. Care should be taken when removing the lamp from its packaging, installing it, or replacing it. Always plug and unplug the lamp by its base, and never forcefully twist the CFL into a light socket by its tubes. Used CFLs should be disposed of properly.


What do I do with a CFL when it burns out? What is the proper disposal procedure?

In Europe, all CFL lamps have to be disposed as special waste under EWC Code 20 01 21-Fluorescent tubes and other mercury-containing waste. Furthermore, as part of its obligations under the EU's WEEE Directive, the European lighting industry has set up a European-wide recycling infrastructure for all gas discharge lamps (including CFLs), capable of recycling mercury, as well as other metals, glass, etc. All CFL lamps are provided with the crossed-out wheeled dustbin logo, indicating that consumers should deposit the product separately, making use of the existing, local waste depots.

For more information about the WEEE directive and to contact your national ELC member partner see http://www.elcfed.org/2_health_environment.html#weee


What should I do if I break a CFL lamp?

If you break a CFL, do not panic and take the following steps:

  • Ventilate the room for 20-30 minutes.
  • Do not use a vacuum cleaner.
  • Use gloves to remove all the bits.
  • All the items used in cleaning up the spill should be treated as “universal waste” or disposed at your local lamp recycling point.
  • Remove all broken lamp components from the luminaire before reusing the luminaire.
  • ALWAYS switch off the mains before removing the remaining lamp components!
Disposing of CFLs

Follow these guidelines to dispose your CFL properly:
  • Like paint, batteries, thermostats, and other hazardous household items, CFLs should be disposed of properly.
  • Do not throw CFLs away in your household garbage if better disposal options exist.
  • If your local waste management agency offers no other disposal options except your household garbage, place the CFL in a plastic bag and seal it before putting it in the trash.
  • If your waste agency incinerates its garbage, you should search a wider geographic area for proper disposal options such as your local tip. Never send a CFL or other mercury containing product to an incinerator.


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ErP-related documents

All the lamp products of GE Lighting Europe are compliant with the current ErP Legislations. In our Document library you can find all the related documents and much more…

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