One CFL contains up to 4 milligrams of mercury—an amount about the size of the period at the end of this sentence. No mercury is released while CFLs are in use, but it's important to take extra care when handling a CFL bulb. Follow these simple guidelines:
- Always screw and unscrew the bulb by its base, not the glass.
- Never forcefully twist a bulb into a light socket or overtighten it.
- If a CFL breaks in your home, follow the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's recommended cleanup guidelines.
Proper CFL disposal is important to your safety and for the environment. Whenever possible, use local recycling options when you dispose of CFLs. In addition, both The Home Depot and IKEA offer CFL recycling options.
If recycling is not an option in your area, seal the CFL bulb in two plastic bags and put it in your outside trash receptacle for normal trash collection. Never put any light bulb (incandescent or CFL) into an incinerator.
For more information, visit these Maryland Department of the Environment links: