One of the greatest inventions in history has been the light bulb thanks to Thomas Edison.

The light bulb enabled people to light up their homes more efficiently than having to use candles.

Over the past decades however, the discovery of Light Emitting Diodes (LED’s) have proven to be more effective and efficient (about 90% more efficient) than their older incandescent counterparts.

While LED light bulbs do have a longer lifespan, they will eventually stop working and need to be disposed of.

But, how do you dispose of LED light bulbs properly?

The great thing about a LED light bulb is that over 95% of it can be recycled. Since LED light bulbs contain electronic components, it can be disposed of to a dedicated electronic waste (e-waste) recycling facility. 

LED light bulbs can be known for containing nickel and lead.

If not disposed of properly these harmful elements can be detrimental to the environment and people’s health. 

What is E-waste

Electronic waste or better known as E-waste, are products that include electrical or electronic components that are no longer wanted or needed and need to be disposed of.

This can include things like your old tv, mobile phones, stereos, computers etc.

Why is it important to recycle e-waste?

Many, if not all electronic waste contain hazardous materials.

These hazardous materials include, lead, cadmium, and beryllium

If not properly disposed of, they make their way to landfills where they leak these hazardous materials into the ground and waterways which can lead to the sea as well as our drinking water.

Also, most of the trash in landfills gets sent to third world countries where children scavenge through these hazardous materials for metals putting their health at risk. 

LED light bulbs are not as hazardous as many other electronic products, but do contain nickel and lead. 

So, disposing of them the right way will be beneficial to the environment and human health.

How to dispose of e-waste?

We all know that there are recycling facilities that deal with recyclables such as paper, cardboard, plastic, and glass. 

Most of us have a recycling bin at home that we throw those items into. 

But, recycling your old LED light bulb does not mean just throwing it in the recycling bin you have at home.

Doing so will add more work for the people at those recycling facilities as they will have to separate e-waste from the items they can actually recycle (paper, cardboard, glass).

Electronic waste like LED light bulbs, need to be broken down and sepearted because not all parts of it can be recycled.

There are dedicated e-waste recycling facilities that deal primarily with electronic waste like your LED light bulb.

Where can you find an E-waste recycling facility?

I cannot know for certain if there is an e-waste recycling facility in your city, but the best way to find one is to do a quick google search for ‘e-waste recycling near me’ or instead of ‘near me’ you can insert the ‘city’ you live in.

The search results will list all the available recycling facilities near you.

Another alternative is to check with the vendor whom you are buying the LED light bulb from, if they take old LED light bulbs to be recycled.

Most vendors nowadays encourage customers to return old electronic products so they can recycle and reuse components. 

Does it cost to recycle a LED Light Bulb?

Electronic waste that usually incur a fee are bigger products like TV’s.

However, there is no standard rule, and it all depends on the e-waste recycling facility. 

What is an LED light bulb?

An LED light bulb is a more efficient means of illuminating a space compared to its older counterpart, the incandescent light bulb.

It is rapidly becoming the choice in households, businesses and street lighting.

LED light bulbs use Light Emitting Diodes.

When a current is passed through the light emitting diode, photons are released in a process known as illuminessence resulting in the light we see. 

Why is a LED light bulb considered e-waste?

Above, you saw the importance of recycling products that contain electronics as it reduces the harm on the environment and allows us to reuse items.

But, why is an LED light bulb considered electronic waste?

What does an LED light bulb consist of?

The reason that an LED is considered electronic waste is the simple fact that it contains electronic components.

Inside an LED light are the following circuits and electronic components:

  • Light Emitting Diodes (LED)
  • AC to DC converter
  • Capacitors
  • Resistors
  • Transformer
  • Diodes

LED light bulb circuitry varies in complexity from one bulb to the next, but these are the common components that can be found inside your standard LED light bulb. 

This is why it is vital to dispose of them by recycling them at dedicated e-waste recyclers. 

Average Lifespan of an LED Light Bulb?

The even better news to the fact that you can recycle your old LED light bulbs when disposing of them, is that they have a long lifespan.

The average LED light bulb lasts up 25,000 hours. 

That’s about 1041 days!

Different types of LED light bulbs

Below are a range of different types of LED light bulbs:

  • E27 
  • E14
  • B22
  • B15
  • R50
  • R63
  • PAR38

The process of disposing of any one of them is the same.


So, to reduce the harmful impact that e-waste has on our environment as well as our health, the best way to dispose of that old LED light bulb is to take it to a dedicated e-waste recycler.

They will be able to break down the LED light bulb and recycle materials.How to dispose of LED light bulbs ?