Disposing of electric bulbs correctly
We use electric bulbs every day. However, we rarely ask ourselves how to dispose of an electric bulb correctly. This article contains tips for the environmentally friendly disposal of electric bulbs, low-energy bulbs and other lights.
In Switzerland, around 120,000 tonnes of electrical and electronic equipment are recycled every year, including around 1,000 tonnes of lighting of various types: traditional electric bulbs, LED and low-energy bulbs, and so on.
To ensure that even more lighting can be recycled in future, this article tells you how to dispose of electric bulbs correctly.
Why you should recycle lighting
Modern lighting contains numerous components that can be recycled. These include glass and rare elements such as indium and gallium. If these components are recycled, fewer resources are required to produce new lights.
Some lamps contain toxic substances such as mercury, which in the worst-case scenario can cause health problems if disposed of incorrectly. In Switzerland, incorrect disposal can also result in a fine of up to several hundred francs.
One tonne of recycled electrical and electronic equipment (e.g. lighting) offsets the environmental pollution caused by a 247,500 kilometre train journey. This is the equivalent of travelling the entire Swiss rail network 48 times.
Which lighting can go in your household waste?
You can dispose of the following lighting in your household waste:
- Traditional electric bulbs
- Halogen lamps
The following lighting must not be disposed of in your household waste:
- Fluorescent lamps
- Low-energy bulbs
- LED lamps
Disposing of all your lighting correctly
Traditional electric bulbs can simply go in your household waste. Never put them in your glass recycling bin, as it is very difficult to separate the metal filament inside the electric bulb from the glass.
Halogen lamps are also made of glass and metal. So you can dispose of them in your household waste. Never put them in your glass recycling bin.
Fluorescent lamps contain mercury. So you need to take them to a suitable collection point. Don’t worry, this doesn’t involve any extra effort. These collection points are often located in supermarkets such as Migros or Coop. They will accept your old fluorescent lamps free of charge.
LED lamps and lights, such as LED strips or LED panels, must be disposed of at a collection point. Although these lights do not contain any harmful substances, they do contain valuable, recyclable components. If you put LED lamps in your household waste, these will be lost.
Low-energy bulbs contain mercury and should also be taken to a collection point.