Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs

Focus on Energy sponsors CFL recycling program

The past few years have seen explosive growth in the popularity of compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) in Wisconsin. Millions of the familiar twist-shaped lamps have been sold. But like all fluorescent lamps, CFLs contain mercury—meaning they should not be discarded in the regular trash. For consumers, the only responsible option has been to drive to a local recycling center. Until now. 

Focus on Energy, Wisconsin’s energy efficiency and renewable energy initiative, has partnered with the world’s largest environmental service company to offer CFL buyers a better way. In August, Focus representatives began providing interested retailers with recycling containers and promotional materials as part of a new, no-cost CFL recycling program for their customers.

Under the program, CFL buyers are encouraged to take their used, unbroken CFLs to participating retail stores where they are collected in approved containers. When full, the containers are sealed and sent to Veolia Environmental Services, where the lamps are recycled in accordance with all environmental regulations. A few days later, the retailer receives a new recycling container automatically and the cycle starts again.

Consumers benefit because they no longer need to travel to a recycling center to dispose of used CFLs. Retailers benefit from increased store traffic and sales as customers return used lamps and purchase replacements. And everyone benefits from a cleaner environment and increased awareness of energy efficiency.

The CFL Recycling Program is planned to be in full operation by October 1. Focus on Energy will maintain a list of participating retailers on its web site at For more information, visit a participating retailer near you or contact Focus at 800.762.7077.