How to Recycle Fluorescent Light Bulbs

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How to Recycle Fluorescent Light Bulbs

Fluorescent light bulbs represent a type of lighting that utilises fluorescence to create visible light. An electric current within a mercury-neon gas produces a short wave ultraviolet light that prompts phosphor coating located within the bulb to fluoresce. Because of mercury, fluorescent lighting requires special handling to prevent breakage or leakage of the bulb's chemicals. Fluorescent light bulb owners must pay special attention to how they recycle fluorescent light bulbs. Before they shop on eBay for replacement fluorescent light bulbs, consumers should first learn about the types of fluorescent lighting, the benefit of using the bulbs, and the required method for recycling the bulbs in Australia.

Types of Fluorescent Light Bulbs

Consumers have four fluorescent light bulb options with four of the options comprising fluorescent bulbs in the T category. The factors involved in choosing between T12, T8, T4, and compact bulbs include the type of light fixture, type of ballast, and the range of illumination required.

Type of Fluorescent Bulb



Oldest type

Bulkiest and least expensive to purchase

Temperatures need to be above 15.5 Celsius to properly function

Appear to flutter during start up


Start faster than T12 bulbs

Operate at all temperatures

Combination of high value and functionality

Make an excellent used light bulb choice


Measures 1.25 cm

Puts out the same illumination as larger T bulbs

Perfect for lower ceiling and countertops

T5HO provides more illumination than standard T5 bulbs

Compact (CFL)

Designed to replace halogen or incandescent lamps

Screw-in or plug-in

Screw-in lamps self ballast

Plug-in lamps require ballast and socket

Light bulb experts often refer to screw-in lamps as integrated and plug-in lamps as non-integrated. Both types of compact fluorescent lamps come in varied wattages, sizes, bases, and colour temperatures. Compact fluorescent light bulbs provide users with a long-lasting lifespan and the capability to upgrade the bulb easily.

Benefits of Buying CFLs

Fluorescent lighting works on the scientific principle of producing a combination of mercury and neon gas, while incandescent lighting works by reacting to a heat source. The different scientific principles used for the two sources of lighting create distinct advantages for consumers who purchase CFLs. One of the benefits involves the comparison to T-type fluorescent bulbs.

Cost Efficiency

Instead of buying used light bulbs to save money, consumers can find high-quality CFLs that cost up to 66 per cent less than other types of light bulbs. The lower cost does not mean inferior quality, as CFLs emit the same level of illumination as the illumination emitted by other types of light bulbs. Since the typical Australian household's electrical consumption involves light bulbs, annual savings can be substantial.


Fluorescent light bulbs provide users with six times the lifespan than the lifespan provided by incandescent bulbs. The bulbs typically burn less during continuous use and require less energy to operate. In addition, CFLs provide consumers with more durability than T-type fluorescent light bulbs. Manufacturers construct T-type night light bulbs with thinner glass that can break on light impact.

No Heat

The heat emitted by incandescent light bulbs can cause damage to nearby objects, especially objects constructed with plastic or wood. A lamp that contains multiple incandescent light bulbs can alter the composition of malleable metals. CFLs do not emit heat, and thus, provide users with a safe way to light rooms inside of their homes and the large spaces created by outdoor patios.

How to Recycle CFLs

Since 2009, the Australian government has supported a recycling advocacy programme called Fluoro-Cycle. The voluntary partnership between government and Australian industry promotes the recycling of mercury containing lamps. Comprised of state, territory, and Australian government environment ministers, the Environment Protection Heritage Council (EPHC) clearly defines how to dispose of broken and used CFLs. Broken CFLs can contaminate other recycled items in a recycling centre. Therefore, Australians should follow a set of steps for cleaning up the broken CFL. The final step in the cleanup process involves sealing the contaminated materials in airtight bags and placing the bags inside of a deep rubbish bin.

Recycling Used CFLs

The Australian government does not prohibit the disposal of intact used CFLs in home rubbish bins that end up in landfills. However, many local governments ban the practice, as it needlessly adds to already overflowing garbage-dumping grounds. Australians should recycle intact used CFLs following the guidelines established by state chemical collection programmes. They can also carefully package intact used CFLs and transport the lamps to drop-off points that accept CFLs for recycling. Australians should not place used CFLs inside of recycling bins for transport, as vehicle movement can cause the bulbs to break and contaminate other recyclable items.

How to Buy Fluorescent Light Bulbs on eBay

Recycling fluorescent light bulbs prevents dangerous chemicals from leaching into soil and water sources. Australia provides several options for recyclers to safely dispose of fluorescent light bulbs, including the non-profit organisation SITA and multiple government agencies on the national, state, and local levels. Whenever you finish with recycling fluorescent light bulbs, you can shop for replacements online at eBay. Type criteria-specific keywords into the search engine to find sellers who match your shopping needs. Examine the enlarged photograph to confirm the bulb's condition and read each seller's payment and delivery terms. You want to find an Australian light bulb seller to ensure quick delivery time.

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