Energy-saving light bulbs safety tips

A guide to energy-saving light bulbs: which ones to choose, safety tips and how to save money with energy-saving light bulbs.

How to choose the right energy-saving light bulbs...

How to handle a broken energy-saving light bulb safely

Some energy-saving light bulbs contain a small amount of mercury, a metal which can be hazardous to health.

Mercury is only found in CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps), not in LEDs or halogen light bulbs.

If you break a CFL, you should take certain precautions. Firstly, make sure pets and other people leave the room. Open a window if possible.

Use stiff card to clear up larger pieces and sticky tape for smaller bits of glass – avoid vacuuming as this can spread the mercury vapour.

To dispose of spent or broken bulbs, take them to your local municipal recycling centre. Some electrical retailers also offer a recycling service.


How to dispose of energy-saving light bulbs safely

Normal lightbulbs can be thrown away with general household waste, but the same is not always the case for energy-saving light bulbs.

CFL bulbs contain small amounts of mercury so they have to be disposed of at a local authority recycling centre or at a growing number of retailers, including Sainsbury’s and Ikea, which offer recycling services.

To find you nearest recycling site, visit the Recolight website at

LED and halogen bulbs, on the other hand, can be put into household waste.

Due to their metal content and the type of glass used in their manufacture, these types of bulbs should not be included with glass recycling.

The same is true for traditional incandescent bulbs.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.