Can you recycle fluorescent tubes at Menards?

In this article, we cover whether one can recycle their old Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL) tubes at a Menards outlet. Furthermore, we also discuss the alternative ways for safely disposing of a CFL tube.

Can you recycle fluorescent tubes at Menards?

Yes, during shop hours, Menards accepts expired and undamaged compact fluorescent light bulbs, as well as tube fluorescent tubes/lamps for recycling at the electrical desk.

Benefits of Recycling CFLs

Recycling CFLs provides a lot of benefits not just to the user and the manufacturer, but it also helps in the greater good of the environment. Some of the ways that recycling CFLs helps are:

  • Recycling prevents the release of mercury into the environment
  • Other materials in the bulbs get reused
  • Your area may prohibit disposal and/or require recycling

We shall discuss these in brief.

Recycling prevents the release of mercury into the environment

When CFLs and other fluorescent bulbs are dumped into a dumpster, garbage bin, or compactor, or wind up in a landfill or incineration, they frequently shatter. 

When CFLs fail or are incorrectly disposed of at the end of their useful lifetimes, small quantities of mercury can be released into the environment.

Mercury, which is a necessary component of CFLs, permits a bulb to function as an efficient light source. CFLs have roughly four milligrammes of mercury contained within the glass tube on average. 

Older thermometers, on the other hand, contain roughly 500 milligrammes of mercury, which is equivalent to the mercury in almost 100 CFLs.

Fluorescent lighting manufacturers are attempting to lower the quantity of mercury in CFLs. When the bulbs are intact (i.e., not damaged) and in use, no mercury is emitted. 

However, when a CFL is broken, mercury vapour and extremely minute beads of mercury can be discharged. 

This can contaminate the soil and can leach into the underground reservoirs, which in turn can severely affect the regional flora and fauna.

Other materials in the bulbs get reused

When the bulbs are intact (i.e., not damaged) and in use, no mercury is emitted, however when a CFL is broken, mercury vapour and extremely minute beads of mercury can be discharged.

Your area may prohibit disposal and/or require recycling

Some states and local governments have stricter laws than the EPA, and they may force you to recycle CFLs and other mercury-containing light bulbs. 

Search for Earth911.com at search.Earth911.com. EXIT EPA WEBSITE to contact your local garbage collection agency, which may tell you if your state or municipality has such a mandate. 

In  the current scenario, the following states ban the disposal of mercury-containing bulbs in landfills:

  • California
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Vermont
  • Washington

Ways to Dispose of Old CFLs


Early adopters of green technology already know that LED (light emitting diode) lighting is the way of the future. Take the 100 watt incandescent light bulb, for example. 

An identical LED bulb would consume only 10 watts and last for up to 60,000 hours. That is an incredible amount of energy saved.

But, let us face it, $25 light bulbs are still a tough sell, even if they would save you money on your energy costs many times over. 

Until customers get over the sticker shock of LED bulbs, the far less expensive CFL (compact fluorescent lightbulb) remains the efficiency champion.

CFLs are a smart investment. Customers have grown accustomed to seeing their curly form on store shelves, and adoption has skyrocketed.

Last year, around 100 million were sold in the United States. However, CFLs contain a trace amount of mercury, which is harmful and difficult to remove from the environment. 

When CFL bulbs burn out, they should not be thrown away in the trash. So, what are we going to do with them?

Mentioned below are five options for disposing of CFL bulbs without harming the environment. Choose the option that is most convenient for you, and feel good about saving money on your electricity bill.

  • Your Local Garbage Service
  • Municipal Government
  • Retailers
  • Earth 911
  • Commercial Services

We shall discuss these options in more detail below.

Your Local Garbage Service

Getting in touch with whoever presently collects your household garbage or recyclables is probably the best place to start. You will almost probably find a customer support number on your statement if you pay for this service. 

Give them a call and see whether they recycle CFLs or mercury. If they don’t, offer it nicely. 

Here’s your chance to send a letter, attend a meeting, or engage in any other form of activism to raise awareness about the need for appropriate CFL disposal. 

Whether your garbage service is privately or publicly owned will determine the proper follow-up.

Municipal Government


Whether local garbage service is supplied by a private contractor or not, waste disposal is ultimately the responsibility of your local municipality (city, county, or parish).

Local government agencies are listed in the “blue pages” of most phone directories. If you are looking for sanitation services, have a look at the list. 

While curbside recycling is not available everywhere, your community may have designated drop-off locations or regular CFL pickups. 

If your local agency does not have any CFL-specific restrictions, inquire about mercury or fluorescent tube disposal.

Retailers

If you ask the manager of your local shop about CFL recycling, you will probably receive blank stares unless you bought CFLs from Ikea, one of the first large suppliers to provide a free take-back service. 

It is worth the effort, though: shops must understand that their customers want their purchases to be safely disposed of.

If you purchased your CFLs from Walmart, contact their corporate headquarters and request that they implement a CFL-return scheme for the whole firm.

Earth 911


Earth 911 is perhaps the largest online repository of recycling information in the United States and Canada. 

To find a recycling centre near you, go to their website and type “CFL” and your ZIP code into the “Find a Recycling Center” area at the top of each page. 

Try “mercury” and “fluorescent lights” as well. It is virtually assured that if there is something in your area, it will be included. 

Earth 911 is presently working to expand its service to Europe, which would be the first step in creating an international register of recycling choices.

Commercial Services

CFL and fluorescent bulb disposal by mail is available from a number of for-profit firms. In the absence of a local option, these companies constitute a responsible and ecologically beneficial CFL recycling route. 

For example, Lightbulbrecycling.com will send you a convenient, postage-paid plastic bucket that will hold roughly 30 CFLs, which is more than most families would consume in many years. 

Simply place your used CFLs in their well-designed bucket and schedule a FedEx pickup. The disadvantage is that the service is fairly costly: around $120 each cargo. 

This nearly triples the unit price of your CFL at today’s pricing. On the other side, you will still be ahead of the game with the energy you will save with each bulb.

You will also have peace of mind knowing that your CFLs are recycled safely.

Storing the used CFL bulbs

There is a backup plan if none of these solutions are accessible to you: storage. Compact fluorescent lights, as its name implies, do not take up a lot of space. 

CFLs will keep their mercury indefinitely unless they are shattered or otherwise destroyed. Rather than tossing them in the garbage, save your used CFLs until convenient recycling becomes available in your region. 

A five-gallon PVC bucket with a sealable lid may be found for less than $10 at most construction sites or purchased new. It should be able to hold a couple dozen bulbs safely. 

A solid cardboard box encased in a hefty plastic waste bag should suffice. Simply keep your CFL storage container out of the way to avoid it being dropped, crushed, or otherwise damaged.

What are the benefits of using LED bulbs over CFL bulbs?

It is crucial to grasp the differences between the two bulbs in order to appreciate the advantages of LED lighting. When an electrical current runs through an LED light bulb, it produces light. 

Electric current passes between electrodes at either end of a gas-filled tube in CFL bulbs. When ultraviolet light and heat are produced by the process, they are converted to light when they strike a phosphor coating on the bulb’s inside. 

According to ENERGY STARĀ®, this process can take anywhere from 30 seconds to 3 minutes, which is why your CFL light may appear to take a long time to completely illuminate.

CFLs utilise 25-35 percent of the energy used by incandescent bulbs, but LEDs are the way to go if you truly want to make a huge difference in the environment. 

Residential LEDs consume more than 75 percent less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent lights, especially those qualified by ENERGY STAR. 

According to Energy.gov, widespread usage of LEDs might save around 348 TWh of electricity by 2027, the equivalent of 44 electric power plants’ yearly electrical output (1000 megawatts each). 

At today’s power costs, it is also a total savings of more than $30 billion. When comparing CFL versus LED bulbs, keep the following differences in mind:

  • LEDs do not produce a lot of heat. According to Energy.gov, incandescent lights release 90% of their energy as heat, whereas CFLs release roughly 80% of their energy as heat.
  • Another advantage of LED lights is that they do not require diffusers or reflectors to trap light because they emit light in a precise direction.
    This improves the effectiveness of LEDs in applications such as downlights (recessed downlights are widespread in domestic kitchens, corridors, and bathrooms) and task lighting.
  • According to the Department of Energy, there are at least 500 million downlights in American homes, with over 20 million sold each year.
    According to the DOE, both CFL and LED lighting may reduce downlight power by at least 75%. According to Energy.gov, the same LED holiday light string may be in use for the next 40 holiday seasons.

Conclusion

In this article, we covered whether Menards has a recycling policy for CFL lamps and tubes. Furthermore, we also discussed the benefits of recycling CFLs.

Lastly, enumerated the various ways one can resort to in order to dispose of used CFLs.

FAQs

Does Home Depot recycle CFL bulbs?

Yes, Home Depot has an extensive recycling program for CFL bulbs and tubes. Home Depot has become the largest store in the United States to implement a broad CFL recycling programme. 

Almost 2,000 Home Depot locations now accept all types of CFLs for free recycling. In November 2007, Canada’s Home Depot shops initiated a CFL recycling programme.

Why is it easier to find recycling options for CFLs than fluorescent tubes?

Retailers (like as Home Depot and Lowe’s) are the largest market for CFL recycling, as they take them for free but only from customers. 

Consumers are more likely to buy CFLs at these stores, but fluorescent tubes are more commonly used in offices. CFLs are also easier to ship for recycling than fluorescent tubes. 

Please do not attempt to recycle fluorescent tubes in these retail collection boxes since the bulbs will most likely break and pollute the business.

References

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