Prepaid Mail-Back Kits from
Order Now

Frequently Asked Questions

Lighting Resource wants to be your resource for recycling information. Below are FAQ's about some items that we recycle. If you don't see your question here, let us know!

Email us your question

Or, call Lighting Resources Customer Service at (805) 624-3050

How should green tip fluorescent lamps be disposed of?

In an effort to demonstrate that their fluorescent lamps are more environmentally friendly, some lamp manufacturers paint the tips of lamps green. This has created confusion as to how these lamps should be properly disposed. Questions about “Green Tip” lamps may be addressed as follows:  Regardless of existing perceptions or claims made, all fluorescent lamps contain mercury. Per the guidelines listed below from the USEPA website, “If you do not test your mercury-containing lamps and prove them non-hazardous, it is prudent to assume they are a universal waste and handle them accordingly.”  The safest and most responsible choice is to properly recycle all mercury containing fluorescent lamps. 

What is the difference between T12, T8, and T5 fluorescent lamps?

Straight fluorescent lamps are the most common type of fluorescent lamp and are manufactured in many lengths, however the vast majority are four foot and eight foot lamps.  The number appearing after the “T” refers to the number of eighths of an inch in diameter of the lamp – a T12 is 1 ½ inch in diameter, a T8 is one inch in diameter and so forth.  These number apply for any length lamp.  Because thinner diameters are more efficient, T12 lamps are being phased out.  Straight lamps are primarily manufactured in three different diameters.  

  • T12 Lamps – 1 ½ inch diameter old style straight fluorescent lamps.
  • T8 Lamps - 1 inch diameter new style straight fluorescent lamps. 
  • T5 Lamps – 5/8 inch new style straight fluorescent lamp. 

Because all fluorescent lamps contain mercury, they should be properly recycled.

What are Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCB) Ballasts?

PCB ballasts have not been manufactured since 1979 and are highly regulated by the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Although these have not been manufactured since 1979 there are still many in operation because PCBs are highly resistant to degradation. Lighting Resources is the nation’s largest processor of waste PCB ballasts at our Phoenix facility. If you have PCB ballasts to process, call your nearest Lighting Resources office for assistance.  PCB ballasts are strictly prohibited for the EZ on the Earth mail-back program. Most non-PCB ballasts manufactured after 1979 have “No PCB’s” printed on the case. If you have a ballast without this warning, or if the wires are insulated with a woven insulation, you most likely need to treat these as PCB ballasts.

What are High Intensity Discharge (HID) Lamps?

High Intensity Discharge Lamps (HID) are generally large bulb type lamps used in gymnasiums and warehouses and include the following types of lamps: Metal Halide, Mercury Vapor, Sodium Vapor, and High Pressure Sodium Vapor.  All HID lamps contain mercury and must be disposed of a universal waste.

What is the Difference between Lithium Ion and Primary Lithium Batteries?

All lithium batteries must have the terminals fully insulated prior to shipment, and require specific shipping requirements.  There are two very distinct types of lithium batteries: 

  • Rechargeable Lithium Ion Batteries utilized in computers, phones, and even hybrid automobiles.
  • Non-rechargeable light weight high energy primary lithium batteries that include: Lithium-Sulfur Dioxide (LiSO2), / Lithium Manganese Dioxide (LiMnO2) / Lithium Thionyl Chloride (LiSOCI2) / Rechargeable Lithium-ion batteries.  These batteries must be managed very carefully because of the chance of ignition due to the high energy discharge capabilities.  

What is a Universal Waste?

A Universal Waste is a definition applied by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for lamps, batteries, pesticides, and mercury devices.  To understand more about the definition see our section on regulations (link).  

Do compact fluorescent lamps contain mercury?

Yes, all fluorescent lamps contain mercury.  Compact fluorescent lamps are essentially tubes of bent in a swirl as opposed to straight.  The best way to handle all mercury containing lamps is to have them recycled at a responsible recycler such as Lighting Resources.  For smaller quantities, our EZ on the Earth recycle kits are available.