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Montgomery County Initiative Seeks to Have Compact Florescent Lightbulbs Properly Recycled

For Immediate Release: Thursday, March 11, 2021

Daylight Savings Time is Sunday, March 14, and traditional reminders include those to set clocks forward one hour and to change batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. The Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) wants to start a new tradition through it “Recycle Right—CFLs Contain Mercury” initiative to let residents know how to properly recycle Compact Florescent Lightbulbs (CFLs).

The Recycle Right—CFLs Contain Mercury campaign is focused on educating the public about how and why to recycle the lightbulbs that contain mercury.

CFLs use one-third of the electricity, and last up to 10 times longer, than incandescent light bulbs. CFLs are more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs and reduce electricity bills—while lessening carbon footprints—but they should not be thrown into the trash.  

Nationwide, more than 670 million mercury-containing bulbs are improperly discarded each year. In Montgomery County, CFLs that are thrown into the trash are often mixed with other waste and incinerated. The disposal method can lead to a release of mercury into the environment through breakage and leakage, and ultimately, contaminate the environment and food chain. 

“We have made great progress in getting residents and businesses to use CFLs over incandescent light bulbs,” said DEP Director Adam Ortiz. “Ironically, because these bulbs are so energy efficient, they are replaced less often. Many people do not know or have forgotten how to dispose of CFL bulbs. With the Recycle CFLs initiative, we hope to educate the public that CFLs should be handled carefully and disposed of properly at all times.”

Montgomery County accepts CFLs, tubes and ballasts from homes and business at its Household Hazardous Waste drop off at the Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station, which is located at 16101 Frederick Rd. in Derwood.

For more information on recycling CFLs and to learn about drop off locations, go to

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Release ID: 21-171
Media Contact: Cindy Pena 202-875-1563
Categories: Environment