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.
Find your nearest flourescent light recycling drop-off location here.
At Your Door Service Has Been Discontinued
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 were previously eligible for the HHW Door-to-Door Pickup program, but as of January 1, 2017 that program has been discontinued. The San Mateo County government did not administer this program but is helping to spread the word about the transition.
Read more about the HHW Door-to-Door Pickup program transition here:
- ”AT YOUR DOOR” HHW program ending on 12/31/2016
- Postcard Announcement: Final pickup must be scheduled by December 15, 2016
Household Hazardous Waste material can continue to be taken to the San Mateo County HHW collection facility or a temporary collection event.
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? 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.