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Fluorescent Lamps, including compact fluorescent lights, contain mercury, a toxic metal. When a lamp is broken or placed in a landfill or incinerator, the mercury can contaminate the airs, surface water, and ground water. UNC promotes recycling of fluorescent bulbs, and has a system in place to recycle them.


  • Recycle your fluorescent lamps.
  • Use low-mercury, green tipped bulbs. These are lower in mercury but do still contain mercury at a level that can cause contamination.
  • Store all spent bulbs in Closed boxes, labeled as “Used Bulbs” and Date the container with the first date that a bulb was put into the box. This box must be kept Closed unless a bulb is actively being added to the box.
  • EHS may be able to provide boxes for accumulation.
  • Bulb boxes should be brought to the EHS Storage Facility across from Surplus Property so that they may be collected for recycle.
  • Compact Fluorescent Lamps may be sent to EHS via our online chemical pickup request system.


  • Do Not put used fluorescent bulbs or compact fluorescent lamps in the trash.
  • Do Not intentionally break or crush lamps because mercury will be released.

Please contact Housekeeping if you come across a broken bulb on campus.