Fluorescent Lights



Fluorescent lights save electricity and are a good choice for energy conservation. However, they do contain a very small amount of mercury sealed within the glass tubing, making the lights toxic and banned from being put in the trash.


Curbside Collection


Currently, only Republic Services of Daly City and GreenWaste (Portola Valley and Woodside) allow residents in single family home to place compact fluroescent bulbs only in a bag on their recycling bins for pickup.


Drop Where You Shop


Some businesses that sell fluorescent lights will take used-up ones back from their customers. Since this service is voluntary, participating stores do change.


Below are current locations that collect different sizes of fluorescent lights from compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) up to 8 foot fluorescent tubes from residents ONLY (Businesses can use San Mateo County's Small Business Program). Before you visit, be sure to call the business for hours of operation and limits accepted.

North County

Brisbane Hardware1 Visitacion Ave415-467-2707
South County  
San Mateo  
Hassett Hardware545 First Avenue348-1082
Carlmont Ace Hardware1029 Alameda De Las Pulgas593-4072
Redwood City
Hassett Hardware348 Woodside Plaza474-2223
Roberts Hardware & Tack3044 Woodside Rd851-1084
Portola Valley
Portola Valley Hardware112 Portola Road701-0137
Linda Mar Ace Home Center560 San Pedro Ave359-2401
Half Moon Bay  
Hassett Hardware111 Main St.726-5505


Note: Home Depot, IKEA, OSH, and Lowe's accept compact fluorescent lights ONLY (the small curly ones) in very small quantities from residents.

At Your Door Service


If you live in Atherton Belmont, Burlingame, East Palo Alto, Foster City, Hillsborough, Menlo Park, Redwood City, San Carlos, San Mateo, or a variety of neighborhoods in the unincorporated areas of the County, you can call 1-800-HHW-PKUP to arrange for pickup of the whole range of household hazardous waste, at your doorstep.

For more details, visit Rethink Waste.

Use the County's Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Program


Have you cleaned out your home and realize you have a variety of HHW to get ride of? Don’t live in an At Your Door city (see above)?  Make an appointment online, and drop off your fluorescent lights along with everything else.

What If They Break?


San Mateo County recommends these cleanup procedures, based on State and Federal EPA guidelines.

1. Open a window and leave the room for 15 minutes or more.
2. Cleanup the broken fragments…

On a hard surface…
Carefully scoop up the fragments and powder with stiff paper or cardboard and place them in a sealed plastic bag. Use disposable rubber gloves, if available (i.e., do not use bare hands). Wipe the area clean with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes and place them in the plastic bag. Do not use a broom to clean up the broken bulb on hard surfaces.

On a rug or carpet…
Do not use a vacuum cleaner! A vacuum will spread the mercury over a large area, resulting in ineffective cleanup & health risks to you. Instead of vacuuming, wear latex gloves and carefully clean up the fragments following the steps above for hard surfaces. Sticky tape (such as duct tape) can be used to pick up small pieces and powder.

3. Place all cleanup materials & bulb in a second sealed plastic bag.  Place the first bag in a second sealed plastic bag. Wash your hands after handling.
4. Make an appointment to take it to a County Household Hazardous Waste Event. Contact San Mateo County Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Program for broken fluorescent lighting disposal.  Call (650) 363-4718, or make an appointment online at www.smchealth.org/hhw.

Find information on how to recycle other household hazardous wastes.