Recently we came across an online discussion on light bulbs where one participant was concerned about her LED lights. The bulbs, she said, warned her to recycle the bulbs properly because they contained mercury. And she was concerned that, like CFL lamps, the latest replacement for incandescent bulbs included mercury.
Adding to the confusion, she named the line of light bulbs, and this line does include LED bulbs.
But we want to empower buyers with knowledge, so we took time to continue the discussion. First we addressed her need to recycle the bulbs. While we provide light bulb recycling kits for businesses that go through a lot of bulbs, the independent consumer can often look to local hardware stores or light bulb suppliers for free recycling. We pointed her to a couple of stores near her.
Second, we assured her that we had never heard of an LED bulb with mercury in it. This is one of the primary selling points of LEDs. After looking into the line of bulbs she mentioned, we were able to confirm that their LEDs contain no mercury.
However, that line also includes covered CFL lamps. That means they outwardly look like traditional light bulbs even though they use CFL technology. Since these are energy saving lamps, we realized that she had probably made an honest mistake in thinking that they were LEDs. They certainly looked more like LEDs than like CFLs.
This got her curious, and she dug up the original boxes. Sure enough, they were CFLs. CFLs require mercury to operate. LEDs do not. And we share this story for anyone who might be unclear about a similar situation. If they are LEDs, they do not contain mercury. And as a bonus, because they're rated to last for so many years, LED lights also represent less general waste over time.