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.
Currently, only Republic Services of Daly City and GreenWaste (Portola Valley and Woodside) allow residents in single family home to place compact fluorescent 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.
|Brisbane Hardware||1 Visitacion Ave||415-467-2707|
|Hassett Hardware||545 First Avenue||348-1082|
|Carlmont Ace Hardware||1029 Alameda De Las Pulgas||593-4072|
|Hassett Hardware||348 Woodside Plaza||474-2223|
|Roberts Hardware & Tack||3044 Woodside Rd||851-1084|
|Portola Valley Hardware||112 Portola Road||701-0137|
|Linda Mar Ace Home Center||560 San Pedro Ave||359-2401|
|Half Moon Bay|
|Hassett Hardware||111 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.