IKEA Will Recycle Your CFLs For Free

If you have an IKEA store near you, give them your old CFLs and they’ll recycle them for free. CFLs contain small amounts of mercury and should not be thrown away or recycled with glass bottles.

We often hear about people who are reluctant to purchase CFLs because they worry about having to dispose of them when they burn out (in about 7 years,) so we thought we’d mention this as an option for those of you who live near an IKEA.

If you have some laying around right now that you don’t know what to do with, give them to IKEA!



Edit Your Comment

  1. SOhp101 says:

    Good for Ikea. No point in saving energy if there’s a mercury poisoning epidemic.

  2. 8abhive says:

    7 years? Tell us where you buy bulbs. While I do have functioning non-quickstart CFLs from 1990, everything I’ve bought since the late 90’s has burned out within a couple years. It’s nice to save on electricity but I do wonder how these newer poor quality bulbs are affecting us in the long run.

  3. SOhp101 says:

    @8abhive: From what I’ve read, the lifespan of the bulbs depend mainly on the brand and the number of power cycles it goes through. They last only 2-3 years if on circuits that are constantly turned on and off, but will easily last their advertised life span if left on for extended periods. Generally speaking ‘name brands’ (I have no idea which ones would qualify) supposedly last longer than the cheap looking ones.

    If the bulb says indoor use only, then they really do mean indoor use only.

  4. RottNDude says:

    I bet they’ll just throw the box of bulbs in the dumpster…

  5. smartwatermelon says:

    IKEA also recycles standard (incandescent) light bulbs and batteries, too.

  6. bubbaprog says:

    My IKEA-branded CFLs (purchased at the store in Chicago) turn eight in January. That’s with both extended periods of constant illumination and their current application, desk lamps. They still look great.

  7. theblackdog says:

    I mentioned this in a comment months ago :-P

    Actually I have a small bone to pick with IKEA, I bought a pack of their CFL’s a month ago, and already one has burned out. Wasn’t there some address to send a CFL to if it burned out prematurely?

  8. Instigator says:

    Can we now lay to rest the Greenie myth that CFL bulbs are better for the environment than those evil, energy-wasting incandescents?

  9. azntg says:

    @8abhive: You’re quite right. Newer CFL bulbs don’t seem to last as long as the older ones.

    My parents bought CFL bulbs sold by Con Edison (our local utility) in the late 80’s and early 90’s. All but two of them are still keeping our house bright. On the other hand, the CFL bulbs I’ve bought within the last 2-3 years, they’ve already burned out. Needless to say, we went back to incandescent bulbs.

    Good to hear that Ikea will accept them. Probably an example of corporate goodwill… I hope!

  10. TurboWagon00 says:

    A good (if overly long) read on CFLs and why they might not be all that they’re cracked (haha punny) up to be. [sound.westhost.com]

  11. CurbRunner says:

    Will they recycle CLF bulbs other than ones purchased from IKEA?

  12. NRDC says:

    Weighing in here from the Natural Resources Defense Council (www.nrdc.org), which does lots of work on both mercury and efficient bulbs. We spent a lot of time on this question, and the CFLs come out the clear winner in our environmental assessment.

    Four key reasons:

    1) One of the leading sources of mercury is coal-burning electric power plants. Less energy to light a bulb means less mercury in air. A traditional incandescent uses 4 times the electricity of a CFL to produce the same light. Net benefit over five years (including the mercury in the bulb) is about a 36 percent savings, according to the US EPA.

    2) Despite booming sales, CFLs still account for a fraction of the total mercury used in the US each year — about one ton total, compared with more than 200 tons for other things. There is 10 times as much mercury a button cell battery, and 600 times as much in your household thermostat.

    3) Thanks to pressure from both environmental groups and major retailers, the leading CFL manufacturers have all significantly lowered the amount of mercury in each bulb over the past year or so. In fact, this is emerging as a major competitive point for bulb makers. Walmart’s 100 million bulbs, for example, will all have 40 to 60 percent less mercury than the industry standard.

    4) Over the next few years, we expect to see the trend to lower mercury continue. And we also expect to see new entrants like cheaper LED lighting coming into the market that will render the question moot.

    Bottom line:

    Very real question. The answer is that there are many sources of mercury – including those power plants – that contribute vastly more mercury to the environment. So CFL is still the way to go.

  13. GitEmSteveDave says:

    I bought a bunch of Home(r) Depot bulbs back in the day. Whenever they burn out, I call the number on the bulb, and as long as it is within the warrenty date for that batch of bulbs, they sent me all new ones. I didn’t have one bulb that wasn’t covered. They mailed me over a dozen to replace the ones that burned out. The bulbs HD sells have been rated the best by Pop Mechanics, and the newer ones have a 7-9 year warranty.

    As for recycling, I just call my municipal hazardous recycling site, and they give me an appt time, I drive down, and hand the bulbs over. Not much fuss, and def no muss. IKEA is WAY too far to drive.

  14. AD8BC says:

    When my state eventually demands that I use the bulbs, they sure as hell better come to my door for free to pick them up from me when they burn out or they are going in the trash.

  15. Steven1789 says:

    More info on CFL recycling here.

  16. royal72 says:

    “hey honey! pack the bulbs and kitties into the excursion, ’cause we’re going to ikea!”

  17. rptrcub says:

    @CurbRunner: They’ll take it from anywhere, no questions asked–including industrial/office type long traditional tube fluorescents. At the Atlanta IKEA, the recycle bin for the CFLs, along with things like eyeglasses, cell phones, etc, is located near customer service and the brown wrapping paper station near the exits to the surface.