Safe CFL bulb disposal

Energy-saving light bulbs are more energy-efficient than incandescent lamps because they contain a small amount of mercury. The tiny amount in a bulb is not a hazard to users, but mercury is toxic to human health and harmful to the environment in larger quantities.

For safe disposal, drop off your old bulbs in the special collection bins at Bunnings Warehouse, the Council office in Trafalgar Street or the Pascoe Street Transfer Station. Address and hours of Pascoe Street Transfer Station.

Don’t

  • Do not put them out with your kerbside recycling.
  • Commercial hazardous waste, including bulbs, batteries and other hazardous materials, is not accepted at the Transfer Station. The business is responsible for its safe disposal.

What happens to the mercury

Our recycling contractor sends the material to the collection facility in Christchurch, where the mercury is separated for recycling.

What if I accidentally break a fluoresent lamp in my house?

Don’t use a vacuum cleaner or brush to clean up the breakage (this will spread debris and could contaminate the equipment), and keep people and pets away until the cleanup is complete.

Start by opening windows and ventilate the area for 15 minutes.  Use rubber gloves to carefully pick up the larger pieces and place in closed container or bag.  Collect the smaller pieces and dust with sticky tape. Finish by wiping the area with a wet wipe or damp cloth, placing this cloth and the sticky tape in the closed container with the other residue.  Place the closed container in an outside rubbish bin or drop in to transfer station.Wash your hands when you have finished.

If a carpet or rug is under the area where the lightbulb is being changed, homeowners may consider putting a drop cloth on the floor so that any accidental breakage can be easily cleared up.

What about heavy-metal batteries?

Just as for energy-saving bulbs, batteries that contain heavy metals (lead, nickel-cadmium, nickel-metal hydride, lithium and mercury) should be brought to the transfer station. Ordinary alkaline (carbon zinc) batteries can go out with your rubbish.

Other hazardous waste

Other hazardous waste from your home must also be brought to the Transfer Station instead of going out with your rubbish, including:

  • Plant and pest sprays
  • Waste oil
  • LPG bottles
  • Household chemicals

Find out more

You can get more information about safe disposal of hazardous waste on the Ministry for the Environment website.

Go to the Ministry for the Environment's website.

For more information on Nelson City Council’s rubbish and recycling programmes, please contact Customer Services, ph +64 3 546 0200.