CFL Guidelines

CFL Guidelines

If a CFL accidentally breaks

As with any other glass products, caution should be taken to avoid injuries. If you do break a CFL, do not panic and take the following steps:
- Switch off any heating appliances in the room
- Ventilate and leave the room for 15-30 minutes
- Wear rubber gloves and use robust card to remove fragments
- Don't use a vacuum cleaner
- Wipe the area with a damp paper towel or disposable wet wipes
- Carefully bag and seal all fragments gathered and materials used
- All cleaned up items should be disposed of at your local authority WEEE re-cycling facility
Further Information is available at or


Do CFL's contain Mercury?

CFLs contain a very small amount of mercury sealed within the glass tubing of the lamp. Mercury is currently an essential component of CFLs and is what allows the lamp to be an efficient light source. No mercury is released when the CFL is intact or in use. A CFL contains a maximum of 5mg of mercury. CFL Lamps put on the market must comply with European and Irish Environmental and Health and Safety2 law.

What should I do when a CFL reaches its end of life?

CFL's, must never be placed in either your waste disposal or recycling bins. Under the WEEE Directive, retailers are required by law to take back old CFL's free of charge on a one-for-one basis when a householder is purchasing new CFL's. Each local authority must also accept old CFLs free of charge at its civic amenity facilities from members of the public. Local authorities cannot charge gate fees for these old CFL's.

Remember when installing a CFL in your home

Always switch off your electricity at the mains. CFLs are made of glass and therefore, like ordinary bulbs, can break if not handled with care. Therefore you should take the same precautions as you would when changing an ordinary light bulb. Furthermore, be sure to handle a CFL by its base (not the glass). Never force any lamp into a light socket. If you are unsure of how to change a lamp you should engage a RECI or ECSSA2 certified electrician.


Why should I switch to using CFLs in my home?

CFL's save energy and last up to ten times longer than conventional household bulbs, so are cheaper in the long run and generate less waste. They use up to 80% less energy thereby reducing your:
- electricity bill.
- carbon emissions.
Making the switch is therefore good for:
- the environment, as it helps Ireland to achieve its targets under the National Climate Change Strategy.
- your pocket



More information on how to recycle WEEE products can be found on or