Does Home Depot Or Lowe’s Recycle Fluorescent Tubes?

Do you have a few fluorescent tubes piling up in your closet or garage and wonder if Home Depot or Lowe's will recycle them? Or how to prepare fluorescent tubes for recycling? These are good questions. We've researched the process and are glad to share recycling information with you today!

Yes, Home Depot and Lowe's stores both accept fluorescent tubes for recycling purposes. Most of these retail locations will take recyclables free of charge. 

Are you ready to learn more about recycling light bulbs and tubes at different retailers? Or how to find an array of recycling options near you? We've researched these topics and have gathered quality research results to share with you!

Does Home Depot Or Lowe's Recycle Fluorescent Tubes?

Yes, Home Depot and Lowe's have an in-store recycling center that will accept fluorescent light tubes and other recyclable items free of charge.

Please note that most retailers require the fluorescent tubes to be intact. Broken bulbs are not generally accepted for recycling purposes. 

How To Recycle Fluorescent Tubes At Home Depot

How To Recycle Fluorescent Tubes At Home Depot - Home Depot Location flying the American flag

Bring your fluorescent tubes to Home Depot and place them in the plastic bags available at the tubes recycling bin near the main entrance. If you have used batteries or extra plastic bags, bring those along too. Home Depot has several convenient recycling bins for those items. 

How To Recycle Fluorescent Tubes At Lowe's?

Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse exterior.

Recycling at Lowe's is easy. Take your fluorescent tubes to the recycling center inside Lowe's. Generally, the recycling center is near the main doors with plenty of signage to direct which recycling bins to place your used fluorescent tubes. 

Fun fact—Lowe's will accept cell phones, rechargeable batteries, and plastic bags. Also, the Garden Center accepts plastic flower pots and gardening flats for recycling purposes.

Usually, the Garden Center will have a few bins near the entrance where you can leave your used or unwanted plastic gardening supplies. 

Why Do Fluorescent Tubes Need To Be Recycled?

Why Do Fluorescent Tubes Need To Be Recycled? - fluorescent light tubes, electric pieces of rubbish

The fluorescent bulbs or tubes contain mercury, which is quickly released when tossed into a dumpster, allowing the mercury to disperse into the environment. Mercury exposure is considered toxic to humans and the environment.

Always recycle your bulbs and tubes at approved retailers or recycling centers to avoid potentially inhaling mercury particles. 

Suppose you don't live near a Home Depot or Lowe's retailer. Visit Earth 911 to find resources for recycling in your zip code. If you prefer to mail your recyclables instead of delivering them to a center, visit Think Green From Home to learn more about mail-in options!

Suppose you have installed recessed lighting in your home and wonder how to ensure it's energy efficient. Click here to read more: Does Recessed Lighting Use More Electricity? [And How To Make It More Efficient]

Why Do LED Light Bulbs Need To Be Recycled? - Assorted bulbs on concrete floor

LED light bulbs are manufactured from several materials that are toxic to the environment. For example, the LED bulbs are comprised of small microchips containing trace measurements of arsenic and lead.

The presence of toxic heavy metals is hazardous to human and environmental health. Also, if the LED lights are tossed in the trash, those bulbs will end up in a landfill, polluting the environment. 

Have you wondered how much energy a LED strip light set uses? Read this guide to learn more: How Much Electricity Does LED Strip Lights Use [Can I Leave Them On All Night]?

Recycling LED light bulbs is important for protecting the environment and preventing shards of light bulbs from collecting in your trash bins and releasing toxic fumes into the environment. 

Visit your local Home Depot or Batteries Plus to drop off LED bulbs in the recycling bins located near the main entrance. Also, mail-in options like Lamp Master and Veolia provide a mailing envelope for shipping the LED bulbs to the recycling center. 

How To Store Fluorescent And LED Light Bulbs?

  • Storing your light bulbs upright in original packaging or in a tote are great ways to prevent accidentally breaking a tube and having a toxic mess to clean up. 
  • Store the bulbs/tubes out of reach of children and pets. 
  • Always keep the bulbs/tubes in a dry space like a closet or storage room. 

Use a CLF and LED bulb storage and transport case for safe transport and storage purposes. These cases are great for keeping your bulbs protected and upright, whether you are storing them in the closet or taking the used bulbs and tubes to the recycling center. 


Click here to view the Alzo CLF and LED bulb storage case on Amazon.

What Happens If You Breathe In A Broken Fluorescent Tube?

What happens when you breathe in a broken fluorescent tube, Does Home Depot Or Lowe's Recycle Fluorescent Tubes?

Accidentally inhaling mercury vapor released from a broken fluorescent tube could cause the following symptoms

  • Coughing
  • Fever
  • Breathing issues
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Increased salivation 
  • A robust metallic taste in the mouth
  • Vomiting

If you come in contact with mercury, please do not hesitate to call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 for expert advice.

What To Do If A Bulb/Tube Containing Mercury Breaks?

  • Have children and pets leave the room immediately.
  • Close all the interior doors and open windows. 
  • Seal any air ducks with strong plastic and secure them with tape. 
  • Use a fan to blow air from the contaminated room out the window.
  • Leave the room sealed and undisturbed with windows open for at least 10 minutes.
  • Wear gloves and a mask when sweeping up the broken bulb, powder, and shards of glass.
  • Use a piece of cardboard or paper as a dustpan, then place it in a trash bag.
  • Use a piece of packaging or duct tape to pick up any remaining debris on the floor. 
  • Next, use a damp paper towel or wet wipes to clean the floor. 
  • Gather all the debris, gloves, and wipes and put them into a sealing bag or container. 
  • Seal the bag tightly and place it gently in the outdoor garbage receptacle. 
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. 
  • Allow the room to air out for several hours and turn the HVAC system off. 

Please note that you will not be able to recycle the broken bulbs at the options mentioned earlier in this article. You will need to contact your local government waste or recycling management services for further directions. 

Furthermore, if you are worried that the area might still be contaminated, contact Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 for questions regarding cleanup; the hotline isn't just for emergencies.

Also, do not hesitate to contact your primary care physician with any questions regarding you and your family's recent mercury exposure. 

Safety Precautions 

Taking precautions to be prepared for accidents is a wise choice and will help protect your most important asset—your health. 

  • Consider having a PPE kit in your home for when chemical issues occur. 
  • Keep a roll of plastic and tape accessible. 
  • Add the number for Poison Control to your contacts. 


Click here to view a disposable PPE kit on Amazon.

How To Prevent Broken Fluorescent Tubes

What Happens If You Breathe In A Broken Fluorescent Tube? - Broken fluorescent tubes

For the best results, implement the following recommendations to avoid breaking bulbs or tubes:

  • Allow the tube to cool completely before changing the tube.
  • Do not over-tighten the tube. Only turn it clockwise until it feels snuggly attached to the lighting fixture. 
  • Purchase fluorescent tubes with a plastic cover over the glass tube. 
  • Lay a sheet or tarp beneath the light when changing the tubes. In case of the tube breaking, the tarp will contain the broken debris and toxic dust. 

In Closing

We would like to thank you for reading our article today!

We discussed how to recycle fluorescent tubes and LED bulbs at different retail locations and a few tips and tricks for ensuring you are recycling your items safely. We also talked about what to do if you accidentally come in contact with mercury from a broken fluorescent or LED bulb.

Made it to the end? Please check out these helpful lighting-related posts below:

How Big And How Bright Should Recessed Lighting Be?

12 Types Of Recessed Lighting [And 4 Types Of Compatible Lightbulbs]

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