Quick Facts

  • Due to mercury concerns, recycling fluorescent bulbs is required by law by the California Dept. of Toxic Substances Control
  • Crushing fluorescent bulbs is not allowed in California
  • Prepaid bulb recycling by mail is allowed in California

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Recycling Options Available in California


Fill up containers with bulbs, ballasts, batteries, or e-waste at your own pace and mail back via prepaid shipping.

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For larger amounts of bulbs, ballasts, batteries, or e-waste. Trucks come pick up waste at your location for recycling.

Schedule a Pickup


Detailed California Fluorescent Bulb Recycling Regulations

The stringency table below provides examples of state regulations compared to the EPA regulations. We strongly recommend that you discuss stringency with your primary state regulatory contact. This information should not be interpreted as definitive legal guidance. This document was produced in June 2004, and we do not guarantee its accuracy after that date, as state policies may change at any time.

("same" means the state policy is the same as the federal policy)


Jurisdiction: Federal EPA

Generator Exemption (CESQG): Generators producing less than 100 kg (220 pounds) of hazardous waste (HW) or 1 kg acute HW in each month, including all HW generated. CESQGs are exempt from federal rules, but not exempt from liability (40 CFR 261.5)

Where can waste from CESQG go? Waste may go to any Municipal Solid Waste Landfill (MSWLF)

Can the waste be declared non-hazardous, based on TCLP? Wastes that test less than 0.2mg/l soluble mercury are not considered hazardous under federal rules.

Other stringency or exemptions? Crushing can only be done by generator (40 CFR 262.34); crushed waste that is not UW- must be managed as RCRA HW. Crushing not allowed within federal UWR, but may be within State UW regulations. No one may crush third-party lamps without treatment authorization [1]. No mobile treatment units.


Jurisdiction: California

Generator Exemption (CESQG): Only for <30 lamps per month, other criteria apply.[2]

Where can waste from CESQG go? Waste must go to RCRA Sub-C facility (hazardous waste landfill) or state equivalent recycler

Can the waste be declared non-hazardous, based on TCLP? No. All waste lamps with mercury added are hazardous waste.

Other stringency or exemptions? No crushing allowed.


State Regulatory Contacts


Sarah Scott - Hazardous Substances Scientist

Agency Address: Dept. of Toxic Substances Control, Regulatory and Program Development Branch, 1001 I St., PO Box 806, Sacramento, CA 95812

Phone: (916) 324-3159

Email: sscotti@dtsc.ca.gov



Mary Kathleen Pride - Hazardous Substances Pollution Preventon Scientist

Phone: (916) 324-1088

Area of Responsibility: Hospital Pollution


Peggy Harris - Chief, Regulatory and Program Development Division

Phone: (916) 324-7663


Mike Horner - Senior Hazardous Substances Scientist

Phone: (916) 322-7889

Area of Responsibility: Answers policy questions


Karl Palmer - Chief, Regulatory Program Development Branch, Regulatory and Program Development Division

Phone: (916) 445-2625


Toll Free Public & Business Liaison Hotline

Phone: 1-800-728-6942


More Resources

Guidance Paper (PDF)

New Universal Waste website, January 2006

State Mercury Regulations

CA Dept. of Toxic Substance Control Homepage

Universal Waste Rule, Final - California Universal Waste Rule

Managing Spent Fluorescent Lamps Best Practices

DTSC Online Training Link