Recycling light bulbs in BC is easier than you think

Dec 8 2020, 11:59 am

It’s that time of year when we find ourselves turning on more lights and having our lights on longer to make up for the shorter periods of daylight. Plus, with the holidays just around the corner, many homes are festively beaming with even more light than usual.

While the benefits of recycling are well established, you might find yourself scratching your head when it comes to disposing of burnt-out light bulbs, broken fixtures, and other special-purpose lights like holiday string lights, bike lights, and floor lamps.

The high recyclability of light bulbs — 98% of their materials can be recycled — means it’s especially important to resist the urge to simply toss them into the trash once they’ve served their purpose.

That’s why local not-for-profit Product Care Recycling is making it easy for BC residents to recycle their used lights and fixtures for free. With more than five million people living in BC, having everyone do their part is crucial for protecting the environment.

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With the help of many environmentally-conscious British Columbians, Product Care is able to divert more than 7 million light bulbs from the province’s landfills every year. Once used lights and fixtures are dropped off at a recycling location, they’re separated into various components — such as glass, metal, and plastic — and given another life in the form of new products.

By helping households to recycle lights, they also help keep any harmful materials out of landfills. Some bulbs, like compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and fluorescent tubes, contain small traces of mercury that, if not managed properly, can potentially affect both our health and that of the environment.

Ensuring these materials are safely managed is a critical component of Product Care’s process. Since light bulbs are highly recyclable, you can feel extra confident using one of Product Care’s hundreds of recycling locations across the province to drop off burnt-out light bulbs and broken fixtures for free.

The environmental impact continues into the manufacturing process, too. It’s actually easier to create new light bulbs out of used ones since 96% less energy is required to repurpose used aluminum.

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With the world’s waste production increasing at an alarming rate — 60 tonnes of waste each second — it’s more important than ever to do our part in reducing landfill waste. 

When we consider the fact that we’re exhausting available landfill space at an unprecedented rate, the extra room that millions of recycled light bulbs and lighting fixtures can create over time becomes significant.

In total, Product Care has more than 440 free recycling locations — including many London Drugs and Lowe’s stores — where British Columbians can drop off their burnt-out incandescent bulbs, fluorescent tubes, halogen bulbs, CFLs, and LEDs.

Festive garlands and retro-style incandescent string lights (you’ve probably had these hanging over your bed at some point in your life) can be recycled, along with other lighting fixtures.

By dropping your light bulbs off for free at a Product Care Recycling location, you can ensure that your used products are being responsibly managed and that you’re contributing to a circular economy.

The everyday choices we make go a long way in protecting the environment, which is why it’s crucial to continue doing our part to extend the useful life of these materials by putting them into the right hands.

Visit productcare.org for a full list of accepted products or to find a recycling location close to you.

This content was created by Hive Labs in partnership with a sponsor
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