Can I Recycle Fluorescent Tubes At Lowes? (Find Out Now!)

Upgraded Home Team
by Upgraded Home Team

Florescent tubes last a very long time. When they need replacement, Lowes is a place that may come to mind when you want to recycle those old fluorescent tubes that lasted for several years. But, do you know if Lowes even recycles them?

Lowes no longer accepts fluorescent tubes for recycling at the present moment. Check with local government agencies to find a place that does accept these outdated fluorescent tubes. However, do not throw them in the trash as they do contain mercury, and mercury needs to be disposed of safely and properly.

So why are people just now wondering about recycling fluorescent tubes? The primary reason that people have not had an issue with getting rid of fluorescent tubes in the past is the long life of the bulbs. That fluorescent tube purchased several years ago that just went out is typical for this style of tubes.

Customers at Lowes simply took their old fluorescent tube lights into their local store, and went on their way, purchasing a modern, energy-saving option. The customers likely did this for years without a second thought.

What Is Lowes Policy On Recycling Fluorescent Tubes?

Lowes recently changed their policy regarding accepting fluorescent tubes into its recycling bins. One man recently discovered this fact when he was turned away when he tried to drop off his fluorescent tube light used under a cabinet.

The Ohio man bragged about the fact that he could just casually have his old florescent tubes recycled at a local Lowes store, by simply dropping off the tubes and leaving or shopping for new lighting options.

A Lowes employee told him that they no longer accept fluorescent tubes, leaving him wondering what to do with the tube that he was unable to recycle.

Lowes FAQ On Recycling

Check out the Lowes page that answers questions about recycling policies with the company, and you discover that they will accept CFL bulbs at their recycling area. The store indicates that light bulbs “are usually not accepted” for recycling.

There is no specific mention of fluorescent tubes, but given the fact that employees are informing people that they will not accept them, it is safe to assume that this is likely the policy across the U.S.

Where Can I Recycle Fluorescent Tubes?

Finding a location to drop off those old fluorescent tubes for recycling may take a little time and research.

The man that discovered that Lowes would no longer take his fluorescent tubes for recycling next went to a Home Depot store. They also refused to accept the fluorescent tubes for recycling.

Batteries Plus Bulbs

Batteries Plus Bulbs that will still accept them, as of January 2020. If this chain has stores in your area, you may want to make sure that they still accept fluorescent tubes for recycling at the store near you.

Check Updated Sites

Some sources still indicate that Lowes does accept fluorescent tubes for recycling. This includes the site.

When you find a site that still lists Lowes or even Home Depot as a location to drop off those old fluorescent tubes, know that the site has potentially not been updated to include the new information.

What Do I Do with My Old Fluorescent Tubes?

Never just think that throwing away old fluorescent tubes is the easy solution to the problem of getting rid of them. Act Enviro provides information from the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) on how to dispose of fluorescent tubes today.

Do you have the original box? If you do, place the tube in that container. If you do not have the original packaging, place the tube inside another protective container without breaking the glass.

Next, store them away from rain and other water sources. The reason for this is so that if in case they break, then waterway contamination is avoided from the tubes.

Take the properly packaged fluorescent tubes to a local household hazardous waste collection site or a community event that indicates that they will accept fluorescent tubes for recycling. This applies to both residents of private homes, along with businesses that wish to properly dispose of fluorescent tubes.

Why Can’t You Throw Away Your Fluorescent Tubes?

Although people likely think that there is nothing wrong with just pitching their old fluorescent tube bulbs out with the evening trash, there are significant dangers to it. Never throw away an old fluorescent tube. This is not how to properly dispose of it.

Do Fluorescent Tubes Contain Mercury?

The reason that it is not safe to throw away a fluorescent tube is the fact that these tubes contain mercury. Mercury is often undetectable because of its lack of a chemical odor.

This is true even if it is accidentally spilled if the fluorescent tube breaks when you accidentally drop it, or you throw it in your kitchen trash or in the outside garbage can.

Studies About Fluorescent Tubes and Their Disposal

The authors of an environmental and risk analysis related to florescent tubes was released by the State of New Jersey. The authors explained that the amount of mercury that is released when the bulbs are broken, which typically occurs when the bulbs are discarded, has widely varied.

The amount of mercury that is released has actually been the subject of debate. What is known is that it is dangerous and that one study showed that up to 80 percent of the mercury from broken fluorescent bulbs is released into the air. The results of some other studies indicate that a lower amount of mercury was released into the air during testing.

The authors of the analysis published by the State of New Jersey do explain that “The use of the results of this study to estimate mercury emissions from broken bulbs must note several sources of uncertainty.”

They state that the uncertainty comes from some variations in bulb mercury content and waste management procedures, along with the potential for other types of potential uncertainties. The authors indicated that improperly discarded fluorescent bulbs release an estimated two to four tons of mercury in the U.S. every year.

How Do I Find A Proper Place To Recycle Fluorescent Tubes?

Since Lowe’s and Home Depot indicate that they no longer accept fluorescent tubes for recycling, and smaller chains may not have locations in every area, there are limited recycling options for fluorescent tubes.

Check Your Local Government Websites

Go to your city, county, or state website. There is likely information on the site pages about local recycling centers and recycling procedures for your particular residential area.

This is also true if you are looking for recycling options for fluorescent tubes at your place of business. Those government sites are where residents and businesses also often discover information regarding upcoming recycling events in the area.

Make sure that you follow the rules because you do not want to be turned away from a recycling location or event when trying to dispose of those old fluorescent tubes.

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