Can You Recycle LED Light Bulbs? A Friendly Guide to Disposal

The use of LED light bulbs has steadily increased over the past decade as they are a cheap, efficient, and environmentally friendly lighting solution. However, once their life ends, you might be wondering how to dispose of them correctly!

While you can throw them away with the rest of your trash, it is best if you recycle your dead bulbs. 

Unlike other types of recycled material, LED light bulbs require a specific recycling process to ensure they are correctly and safely sent off for repurposing. To help you out, we have created a guide to tell you everything you need.

This guide will cover:

  • Why you should recycle LED light bulbs
  • How to recycle LED light bulbs
  • Commonly asked questions regarding the recycling of light bulbs.

Let’s get into it!

Can You Recycle LED Light Bulbs? 

Yes, you can. In fact, it is generally recommended that you recycle your LED lightbulbs, as many of the metals used to make the products are great for recycling. Additionally, it also reduces the amount of waste heading to the landfill! 

Why Should You Recycle LED Light Bulbs 

Environmental Impact 

According to the World Bank, the world’s population generates about 2 billion tonnes of waste every year – with at least 33% of this estimated to be disposed of in an environmentally irresponsible manner. 

This means that every effort to bring this vast amount of waste down counts, with even the smallest capable of making a profound environmental impact.

Considering that LED lightbulbs are something that many households use and throw away, it is important that we find ways to responsibly dispose of them to keep household waste down and improve the state of the environment.

Conservation Of Resources 

The metals and other materials found inside LED bulbs require finite resources to be extracted and created. 

However, these metals are also recyclable, provided that they are disposed of correctly.  

By recycling the bulbs, the resources that would have otherwise been wasted on extracting materials for new products can be conserved or used elsewhere – ultimately lowering production emissions and the overconsumption of finite resources. 

Conservation of resources is a key step in improving the globe’s environmental position, and even this small measure taken can make a big difference. 

Reduction Of Hazardous Waste 

Despite being considered one of the safest and best light bulbs on the market, LED light bulbs do contain lead. This means that they technically fall into the “hazardous waste” category when disposed of. 

By recycling and (thus repurposing your LED light bulbs), you are preventing this hazardous waste from merely sitting in a landfill unguarded. Instead, you’ll be providing it with an opportunity to be repurposed!

How to Recycle LED Light Bulbs 

Proper Preparation 

Proper preparation is key to recycling your LED light bulbs. Once you have safely removed them from their fixtures, check with your local recycling station if they need to be wrapped to protect them from shattering. 

If you do, carefully wrap each bulb in a plastic bag before dropping them off at your recycling center. 

Not all recycling centers require bulbs to be wrapped, so make sure you check in with them first!

They may have some other requirements that you need to adhere to, so make sure you know exactly what to do to ensure that your materials are correctly disposed of. 

Recycling Options 

There are limited options for recycling LEDS light bulbs as they contain potentially hazardous materials including arsenic and lead. 

This means you cannot recycle your LED bulbs curbside along with the rest of your recycling, as they need to be safely and properly disposed of by professionals. 

Your options are therefore limited to proper LED collection points, whether that be at a recycling center or via a special program run by a retailer.

Finding Recycling Centers 

You may need to do some research to find a recycling center for your LED light bulbs. 

The first place to check is online to see if there are any recycling plants near you where you can drop your bulbs off. 

A great place to start is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency which provides a list of collection points for various types of light bulbs.  

It is always a good idea to double-check with the center you’ve chosen to make sure that they accept LED bulbs to make sure that they are recycled and repurposed correctly. 

Alternatively, many retailers who sell LED light bulbs also have recycling programs, including big box stores (as well as smaller hardware stores). 

Not all stores offer these programs, so make sure you ring ahead to make sure the recycling program is still active. If it is, it is as easy as bringing in the bulbs and handing them over!

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can LED light bulbs be thrown in the regular trash? 

It is not recommended to throw LED light bulbs in the regular trash. This is due to the fact that they contain potentially hazardous materials such as lead and arsenic. 

Recycling the bulbs prevents these materials from sitting in a landfill and damaging both the health of the environment and people. 

Can LED light bulbs be recycled with other types of light bulbs? 

If you have other types of light bulbs that you wish to recycle alongside your LED ones, check in with your recycling center or collection point of choice and see if they allow all types. 

If they do, then bring all your bulbs along with you to ensure they are repurposed safely and correctly. 

Are there any special requirements for recycling LED light bulbs? 

The main requirement is that they are recycled via a collection point or recycling center, and not in the curbside pickup. This is to allow for the proper processes to be followed and the bulbs to be handled correctly by professionals. 

The Bottom Line

Recycling your LED light bulbs is the recommended method for disposing them. This is the best option for the environment, as it cuts back on resources used and allows the materials in the bulbs to be repurposed.

However, it is important that you follow the correct processes when recycling the bulbs, and do your research to ensure you are taking them to proper LED bulb collection points. 

Correctly recycling your LED bulbs is a great way to do your part for the environment, as allows you to be more ecologically conscious about the waste you’re creating. 

John Bayly

John Bayly

John has dedicated his career to the lighting industry. Starting out as an interior designer with a specialism in lighting, he went on to found his own commercial lighting business. He now shares his expertise and passion for all things lighting with readers of