All light bulbs and ballasts should be collected and disposed of through UVM's hazardous waste program. Light bulbs and ballasts fall under a different set of regulations and are considered Universal Waste.

These procedures are the same if you are an outside contractor or work for a department at the University of Vermont (i.e. Residential Life / Physical Plant).

The University uses a wide assortment of light fixtures. These fixtures contain various mercury-containing bulbs and ballasts. Light bulbs of concern include, but may not be limited to, the following: straight fluorescent bulbs, U-tube, compact fluorescent, metal halide, high-intensity discharge Lamps (HID), circular, and ultra violet (UV).

All ballasts require special handling and should be collected for pickup. Typical ballasts of concern include: PCB, Non-PCB (contains phthalates), and electronic.


Guidelines for bulbs

Broken bulbs should be kept separate.

Do not tape bulbs (especially linear fluorescents) together with duct tape, electrical tape, masking tape or any type of tape. This creates additional charges with our bulb recycler.

If using original light bulb boxes for burnt bulbs, remove egg crate inserts. All boxes must have a "Universal Waste" sticker affixed to the outside, and have the box securely closed when not in use. Email for Universal waste labels through Risk Management & Safety.

Try to keep different types of bulbs separate.

  • Do not mix U-tubes with linear bulbs or compacts or vice versa.
  • Package linear bulbs with bulbs of the same length.

You can use the original boxes for burnt bulbs or request by email packaging from Risk Management & Safety. We offer 4’ , 8’ and U-tube packaging at no cost.  Any box can be used for compacts or any other type of bulb. Again, all containers used for collecting spent bulbs must have a Universal Waste label from Risk Management & Safety and kept closed when not in use.

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