Does Home Depot Recycle Bulbs?

Caring for the environment is commendable, and stores have started offering recycling programs for various home appliances and things that often need to be replaced, such as light bulbs. Since there are varieties of lights out there, we’ve asked does Home Depot recycle bulbs, and if yes, which ones? Read about it here.

The good news is – yes, The Home Depot does recycle bulbs. However, they only recycle CFL bulbs, the eco-friendly version of standard lights. These are made to be economical and ecological, so they’re easily disposable. You can ask about LED lights, too, but incandescent, fluorescent, and halogen bulbs aren’t easily recyclable.

Five of the same bulbs in front of a blue background
You can ask The Home Depot to recycle some of your old bulbs

If you have some bulbs that need recycling, this article can help you determine which ones can be taken to The Home Depot.

Does Home Depot Recycle Bulbs?

The Home Depot offers free bulb recycling services for customers. They sell recyclable bulbs and offer free disposal in-store, so their consumer cycle stays closed. However, buying only recyclable light bulbs has this option, so ensure to look at the bulb type during shopping.

It’s possible to find places that could recycle other types of bulbs. You can research this online or use the Earth911 Recycling Center Search to look up locations. Still, if The Home Depot is the closest to you, you can also call and ask about their recycling policies.

The reason why some bulbs are recyclable and others aren’t is because of their composition. Some have small amounts of mercury, while others are made of different materials and glass types that can’t be processed for recycling.

A CFL bulb shining in the dark
CFL bulbs have traces of mercury in them and should be recycled

What Sort of Light Bulbs Can I Take to The Home Depot?

The types of bulbs The Home Depot will recycle for you are CFL. You can also call to ask about LED lights, since some stores can dispose of them, too. Alternatively, you can always check out The Home Depot’s blog on properly recycling different lightbulbs and educate yourself on handling them adequately.

CFL Bulbs Are Accepted for Recycling

CFL bulbs consume less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs. They’re recyclable because of a small amount of mercury in them, which can be extremely harmful to humans and animals.

Because of this component, CFLs need to be treated and disposed of carefully, which The Home Depot will do for you. If you buy these, count on your local THD to take care of them once they’re no longer useful.

Call Ahead to Ask About LED Bulbs

Certain THD stores will accept LED lights for recycling. These lights contain some metals in small amounts, so recycling them is the best course of action. Why get LED lights anyway? You can read more about them in The Home Depot’s blog describing LED and fluorescent lights and their differences.

To summarize the bulbs that can be recycled by The Home Depot:

  • CFL lightbulbs have traces of mercury in them and must be adequately recycled, which The Home Depot will gladly do for you,
  • LED lights are recyclable in some of The Home Depot stores. You can call the nearest store and ask.

Which Bulbs Aren’t Recyclable at The Home Depot?

Some lightbulbs can’t be recycled at The Home Depot, or even generally. Those are incandescent, fluorescent, and halogen lights. You can throw some away, but ensure to do it safely since they’re all made of glass that could cause damage if not handled properly.

Incandescent Bulbs Are Tricky to Recycle

The most common and traditional lightbulbs are the incandescent type. These are simple glass bulbs containing several components and parts, all treated differently during disposal.

Because of this issue, these lightbulbs cannot be recycled. You can simply throw them in the trash can at home, but be careful. They’re glass items that could cause damage, so ensure to wrap them up before disposal. You can always throw them out in their original packaging.

Read How to Get Rid of Fluorescent Lights Yourself

As mentioned before, The Home Depot has advice on how to get rid of every type of lightbulb. The steps should be followed carefully with fluorescent lights since these are too hazardous to simply be thrown in the trash.

Like CFLs, fluorescent lights contain mercury and should be disposed of adequately. Unfortunately, you can’t do it at The Home Depot, at least not in every. Double-check with your local store, and if they say no, check out the US Environmental Protection Agency’s website and list of places that could.

Halogen Bulbs Cannot Be Recycled

While they don’t have any harmful components that could damage the environment or endanger people and animals, halogen lightbulbs are not recyclable. They’re made of slightly thicker glass than incandescent lights but can still break.

It’s advised to throw these lights in the trash can as you would anything else, but ensure you cover or wrap them with something to prevent them from breaking in the trash. The best thing would be to keep their original packaging and throw them in when they stop working.

To summarize, these bulbs are not recyclable by The Home Depot (or any store):

  • Incandescent lightbulbs have many components in minimal amounts that cannot be extracted by recycling. Throw them in the trash, in their original packaging,
  • Fluorescent lightbulbs aren’t recyclable at The Home Depot, but recycling them is the recommended course of action because they contain mercury in trace amounts and need to be disposed of adequately,
  • Halogen lights can’t be recycled since they’re similar to incandescent bulbs but thicker. Dispose of them by throwing them out in their original packaging.

The Home Depot Will Recycle Some Bulbs for You

If you buy CFL lights, The Home Depot will gladly recycle them for you as soon as they no longer serve their purpose. For other types of bulbs, it’s best to call them and ask, such as LED, or simply look up how to get rid of them without causing damage. It’s good to think about the environment and do whatever is possible to reduce, reuse, and recycle properly.