Lamps, Including Fluorescent, Other Mercury-Containing, and Incandescent

The University’s lamp recycling vendor accepts all types of lamps. Fluorescent, mercury vapor, metal halide, high pressure sodium, and neon lights all contain mercury, which is toxic and persistent in the environment. All lamps must be kept segregated, handled carefully, and recycled by an approved facility. It is illegal to put fluorescent tubes or bulbs in recycling or waste containers.

Do not remove building overhead fluorescent lighting tubes yourself. Submit a work request through FS-WORKS. The lamps will be removed and sent to an approved recycling facility.

Fluorescent and other mercury-containing lamps

The following lamps contain mercury and must be recycled:

  • Black lights
  • Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs)
  • Deuterium lamps (box separately from all other lamps; label box “deuterium lamps”)
  • Germicidal lamps
  • Halogen lamps
  • High-intensity discharge (HID) lamps (metal halide, ceramic metal halide, high-pressure sodium, mercury vapor)
  • High output (HO) fluorescent lamps
  • Neon lights
  • Projector lamps
  • Ultraviolet (UV)
  • Xenon lamps

To recycle these lamps, package them safely in a box, label the box “Lamps for recycling”, and then do one of the following:

  • Contact Facilities Services NE Maintenance Zone at 206-685-8815 to schedule a pickup
  • Deliver them to the UW Recycling office at the Bryants Building, room 102, during business hours 7:30am – 4:00pm

Incandescent lamps

Incandescent lamps are permitted in the garbage, but the University’s lamp recycling vendor accepts them and staff are encouraged to recycle them. Incandescent lamps do not contain mercury, but the end-tips contain lead and can be recycled.

To recycle incandescent lamps, package them safely in a box (can be combined with mercury-containing lamps), label the box “Lamps for recycling”, and then do one of the following:

  • Contact Facilities Services NE Maintenance Zone at 206-685-8815 to schedule a pickup
  • Deliver them to the UW Recycling office at the Bryants Building, room 102, during business hours 7:30am – 4:00pm

Broken fluorescent lamps

For information about broken tubes, bulbs, or CFLs, see the Environmental Health & Safety Fluorescent Lamps page.

Capital Projects fluorescent lamps

Fluorescent lamps from a Capital Project are handled separately through UW Recycling. Fill out the Capital Projects Fluorescent Lamp Service Request Form at minimum 1-2 weeks prior to the removal date.

Fluorescent lighting ballasts

Fluorescent lighting ballasts with known or suspected PCBs must be recycled through Environmental Health & Safety. See the EH&S PCB Management Program page for more information.

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