County Makes Push to Properly Recycle Lightbulbs With Mercury

Ahead of Daylight Saving Time, the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is seeking to start a new tradition with their initiative to educate residents on how to properly recycle Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs (CFLs). 

The initiative is called “Recycle Right — CFLs Contain Mercury” and its primary focus is to inform residents on how to properly dispose of light bulbs that contain mercury. 

“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.”

More than 670 million mercury-containing bulbs are not disposed correctly annually in the U.S., according to a county press release

When CFLs are thrown into the trash, they are mixed with other waste and incinerated. This causes mercury to be released into the air, further contaminating the environment and the food chain. 

Residents can properly dispose of CFLs by taking the bulbs to the county’s Household Hazardous Waste drop off at the Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station. The drop off is located at 1602 Frederick Rd in Derwood.  

Here’s a video from the DEP about the importance of properly disposing of CFLs. 

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Michael Hernández

About Michael Hernández

Michael Hernández is an intern for Montgomery Community Media and Hola Montgomery. He is also a junior journalism major at the University of Maryland. You can reach him by email at


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