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Compact fluorescent light

Compact fluorescent light. (Contributed)

Q. Are fluorescent bulbs supposed to be taken to the recycle center? Can you just throw them in the trash for the standard garbage pick up? Iowa and/or Illinois? -- Ken, Moline

A. Both the Moline Public Works and the Waste Management of Scott County websites recommend you recycle compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs.

Businesses that accept CFLs include:

Home Depot has a nationwide CFL take-back program. The store at 920 Middle Road, Bettendorf, accepts CFLs at no charge at the associate's desk. 563-359-7228.

Ace Hardware, 1716 W. 4th St., Davenport, accepts CFLs at no charge. 563-323-8553

Lowe's stores accept CFLs through a take-back program. Stores at 3955 Elmore Ave., Davenport (563-344-9000) and 3820 44th Ave., Moline (309-736-1100) participate and accept bulbs at no charge.

Waste Management of Scott County provided the list of businesses above as options that may be closer for dropping off CFLs for recycling.

J.D. Schulte, Moline public works director, said, "Thank you for the opportunity to respond. As you probably know, Rock Island County jointly participates with Scott County in the support of the Household Hazardous Waste Collection Program and residents of Rock Island County have access to use the Scott County Facility and provided services."

The following information is from the Waste Management of Scott County website:

CFL Bulbs

CFL Disposal Information

Residents may drop off Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs at the Waste Commission of Scott County's Household Hazardous Material and landfill facilities weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. free of charge.

Household Hazardous Materials, 5640 Carey Ave., Davenport.

Scott Area Landfill, 11555 110th Ave., Davenport (County Rd Y-48 near Buffalo).

Bulbs may be dropped off during regular business hours. Residents may want to take advantage of the Commission's Household Hazardous Material (HHM) program and remove other toxic material from the home.

What should I do if a CFL breaks?

Because there is such a small amount of mercury in CFLs, your greatest risk is getting cut from glass shards. Research indicates that there is no immediate health risk to you or your family should a CFL break and it's cleaned up properly. You can minimize any risks by following these clean-up and disposal guidelines:

Sweep up—don't vacuum—using stiff paper to collect all of the glass fragments and fine particles.

Place broken pieces and the paper in a plastic bag and wipe the area with a damp paper towel to pick up any stray shards of glass or fine particles. Put the used towel in the plastic bag as well.

Sticky tape such as masking tape or duct tape can be used to pick up small pieces and powder. Also place the tape in the bag.

Seal the bag tightly inside a second bag. Label the bag as "BROKEN CFL."

If weather permits, open windows to allow the room to ventilate.

Wash your hands.

Set the bag out of reach of children until you can dispose of it at your local Household Hazardous Material Facility. In Scott and Rock Island counties, call 563-381-1300.

For more information on CFLs, visit the Iowa DNR website.


Ask the Times appears on Thursdays and Saturdays. You can call 563-333-2632, email or write Ask the Times, Quad-City Times, 500 E. 3rd St., Davenport, IA 52801.