Do you hold onto a lot of used-up light bulbs, electrical cords, or even batteries? It can be difficult to know what to do with electrical items. You might ask yourself, is it safe to put these in the trash? Or do I need to find a place to recycle them? The answer is: it depends. Some light bulbs should be thrown away regularly while others should not. It can be confusing to keep track of where old items should go. Luckily, we made a guide that answers how to dispose of electrical items properly.

Where do Light Bulbs Go?

Light bulbs are tricky to dispose of because they all have different rules. The most standard light bulb, the incandescent bulb, is safe to throw away in your personal trash can, and you cannot recycle them. LED lights and halogen bulbs are also safe to throw away in your trash can because they do not contain any mercury. If your home has compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL), they contain mercury and can be dangerous for the environment if thrown away in a regular trash can. CFLs can be recycled if brought to the correct drop-off location. If you have a fluorescent tube, you will want to do the same thing. However, fluorescent tubes are more dangerous, so make sure you take extra caution when handling these bulbs. 

Getting Rid of Electrical Cords

It has become common for homes to have their own special box of unused electrical cords and plugs. Luckily, there are ways to dispose of these items in an environmentally safe manner. Sometimes you can dispose of these items through your local waste management facility. Just make sure to check their website beforehand to see what they do and do not accept. If your local facility does not take cords, many businesses like Best Buy will recycle them for you. It is not safe to put these items in your personal trash can, so always try to find a safe place to dispose of them correctly.

Disposal of Batteries

Another electrical item that people often do not know how to dispose of is batteries. Does anyone else have a junk drawer full of dead batteries? Alkaline batteries are standard in households for remotes, gaming consoles, flashlights, etc. If you live in California, you have to properly recycle batteries as they are not allowed in your garbage. For everywhere else in the United States, you are allowed to dispose of batteries in your personal trash. It is recommended that you do recycle batteries if it is accessible to you. If you have any rechargeable batteries that are often used for phones, computers, digital cameras, etc., these also have to be recycled. There are various ways to recycle alkaline and rechargeable batteries like The Home Depot, community waste programs, and some communities even have mail-in recycling opportunities. 

Instead of letting your old electrical items waste away in your junk drawers, find ways to dispose of them properly around your community. While some of your items might go well in your personal trash can, you might have to locate disposal opportunities for other items. Overall, by safely disposing of your light bulbs, batteries, and cords, you can ensure that our environment is safer for generations to come.