How to Recycle Light Bulbs

Exploding Light Bulb

Today kicks off National Recycling Week, so we thought we’d celebrate by publishing a handy guide on how to recycle your old bulbs. Recycling can be a bit tedious, especially since light bulbs have to be sorted even more carefully than glass bottles. But the more you know ahead of time the easier it will be, and you can make a serious difference just by correctly recycling your old lamps! Here is the proper way to recycle light bulbs based on the type of lamp.

Fluorescent/CFL Bulbs

Fluorescent bulbs are tricky to dispose of because they contain a small amount of mercury, so you can’t just throw them in the trash. Doing so could lead to broken bulbs, which could put people who come in contact with it – namely, waste management workers – at risk for mercury poisoning.  The good news is that there are a TON of ways to recycle your CFLs. Many hardware and retail stores, including Ace Hardware, Home Depot and IKEA, offer CFL recycling drop-offs at their locations. Use this helpful tool to find the closest recycling location to you!

Here are some more resources on recycling fluorescent lamps:


These old fashioned power-suckers are not very kind to your energy bill or the environment, since they waste a lot of electricity and cannot be recycled. One more reason to upgrade to something better once your bulb burns out. Some places that recycle CFL bulbs may take your incandescents, but since there are no recycling programs for regular light bulbs they will most likely just throw them out.

The best way to safely dispose of incandescent bulbs is to wrap them up in newspaper and/or in the original packaging before placing them in your normal trash. This will help protect the people handling your trash (including you!) from risk of injury from broken glass.

Although incandescent lamps can’t be recycled into new lamps, there are a number of ways to up-cycle them yourself. Check out these creative ideas for using old burnt out bulbs in craft projects!

Halogen & LEDs

Halogen lamps are a type of incandescent, so the same restrictions apply to them. They can’t be recycled, so you can carefully dispose of them in your regular trash. Be sure to wrap them up so they won’t shatter! You can also try reusing them just like incandescents in various up-cycle craft projects.

Likewise, LED bulbs take a pretty long time to wear out, but eventually they will need to be replaced. LEDs don’t have mercury in them so they are safe to dispose in the normal trash, but depending on what your lamp looks like it might be great for crafts too! Anyone have a creative idea for LED recycling?

Holiday Lights

Tis the season to recycle! Did you know there are several recycling programs dedicated to recycling old or broken holiday lights? Several states have their own recycling programs, so do a Google search for “holiday light recycling in [your state]” to see what is available to you locally. If your state doesn’t offer holiday recycling, there are a few stores that may recycle holiday lights like Home Depot and certain online retailers. Here is a great resource for locating recycling programs near you, or mail-in options if there isn’t much local to your home.

Have any cool ideas to share about bulb recycling? Let us know in the comments!

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Are Light Bulbs Taking Over the Internet?

We wrote an article a few years ago about “li-fi,” an up-and-coming technology that uses light bulbs to transmit a wireless signal. This technology has come a long way since then, and today it’s one of the craziest (and coolest) innovations in the lighting industry! Scientists across the globe (primarily in the UK and China) have been developing this lighting-based data transmission, which could revolutionize the way we connect to the internet.

LED Light Bulb

Conventional wi-fi is emitted using mirowaves or radio frequencies. The great conundrum of physics is that light travels both in particles and waves, a property which also makes it compatible with wavelength data transmission. Although li-fi has been in development for some years now, the most notable recent accomplishment belongs to Chinese professor Chi Nan, who managed to construct a DIY lighting-based data transmitter from basic retail components. (more…)

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Lighting Your First Home

This post is part of a series for newlyweds, which has included a post on wedding lighting and on honeymoon destinations for lovers of light.

New life stages can be exhilarating, but they can also be intimidating. If you’ve just gotten married and moved into your first home together (or even just moved to a new place by yourself), chances are you’re about to discover all kinds of things that need updating or fixing. This will be especially true for lighting, since so much in the lighting industry has changed in the past few years. Here are some important things to keep in mind when planning the lighting updates for your new home.

Lighting Your First Home

Energy Efficiency

If you’re thinking about home lighting options for the first time, you may not be aware of the impact the kind of bulbs you use can have on your wallet. Incandescent lamps – the kind we all grew up using, which produce a warm yellow light – use only about 5% of the energy they expend to produce light; the other 95% produces heat. Since heat is not usually the purpose of a light bulb, you can see why these lamps are considered “inefficient” – they waste the majority of the energy they use.

Compact Fluorescent LightingSo if you aren’t sentimental, ditch the incandescents for energy-saving light bulbs. Even if conservation isn’t your thing, you can win with energy efficient lighting because it will save you a LOT out of pocket on each electric bill. With some fixtures it’s as easy as replacing the bulb – household light bulbs, or A-lamps, are exchangable regardless of light source. You can try out an affordable CFL bulb if you don’t need to be able to dim, or go all in with a longer-lasting, cool-to-touch, dimmable LED bulb. Even LEDs have become very affordable recently, with some models as low as $5 each. And even if you love the color of incandescents, never fear! You can find fluorescents and LEDs that look (and sometimes even act) the same as old-fashioned lamps.

If the bulbs in your fixtures aren’t easily replacable, you may need to buy new ones if you want to upgrade to more energy efficient lighting. Ultimately it will be worth the up-front investment either way, since you can save so much both in your energy bill and in replacement costs when you use LEDs or other similarly long-lasting solutions. (more…)

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Pegasus Lighting Roundup: Lighting in October

The lighting industry has been busy as ever this month, from the slow-climbing successes of LED adoption to the discovery of new galaxies. Have you kept up? Allow us to offer a taste…

In Lighting News…

“LED Lighting Creeps Toward Tipping Point”


It’s only a matter of time before LEDs make serious headway into the retrofit market. Forbes predicts that by 2021, LEDs will make up approximately half of all retrofits in a market where they currently only make up about 5%. Read more…

Cree Announces Dim-To-Warm LED Lights

Durham, N.C.-based LED manufacturer Cree has just announced that they are adding a dim-to-warm option in their LMH2 LED module family of lamps. This is significant because although LEDs are better at dimming than fluorescents, they do not inherently change colors as they dim like an incandescent. But now incandescent lovers can enjoy the warming colors of a dimming incandescent without all the wasted energy. Read more…

“Glow-In-The-Dark Paths Could Be The Future Of Street Lighting”

Glow-in-the-dark pathway
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A park in Cambridge, England has tried out an unconventional method to lighting the paths at night: glow-in-the-dark gravel. Known as Starpath, this resurfacing material is able to absorb ultraviolet light during the day and release it at night in a bluish glow. Read more…


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Why Do My Lights Dim When I Use The Microwave?

MicrowaveYou go to the fridge, grab a slice of cold pizza, pop it in the microwave, and suddenly the lights in your kitchen go slightly darker than normal. It’s not a big deal – you can still see everything in your kitchen, your pizza is still going to heat up properly, and after a minute, the lights will brighten back up. But it sure is annoying.

If you’re like me, you might start to wonder if this is indicative of a larger issue. Could there be a bigger electrical problem, lying in wait like a sleeping beast, until the day you’re minding your own business, enjoying your pizza, and you start to smell smoke?

Well, let me assure you that this alone isn’t going to burn your house down. Having lights that dim when you turn on the microwave, coffeemaker, or vacuum cleaner is a common problem in older homes, but it doesn’t cause any major damage to your system. (more…)

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Honeymoon Destinations for Lovers of Light

This post is part of a series designed to help newlyweds get the most out of lighting. Also be sure to check out our post about wedding lighting!

Are you a lover? Newly engaged, looking to plan the perfect honeymoon?

Are you a light lover? Does sunshine thrill you in the morning, or warm lamps at night?

If so, this post is for you. Click here for the perfect soundtrack for this post, then grab your bags and passports, because we’re taking you on a worldwide tour to find the most exsquisite, romantic lighting around the globe! The following list details some of the best honeymoon destinations in the world that are perfect for lovers of light.

1) Paris, France.

Eiffel Tower from underneath
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Cliché, I know – but to be fair, Paris has been known as the City of Light for hundreds of years! Though its nickname originated from Paris’ academic importance during the Enlightenment, France’s capital city lives up to its name after dark. You can take an evening stroll along the Seine to get a glimpse of some of the most beautiful – and historically significant – landmarks in the world.  The most iconic attraction in Paris is, of course, the Eiffel Tower, which lights up at night with a special twinkling mini-light show that happens on the hour every hour. Take a look at this gorgeous photo of the tower from inside, courtesy National Geographic.

2) Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.

Hoover Dam at night
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Though not typically top of the list for most romantic destinations due to its somewhat imperfect reputation, Las Vegas is an eye feast for lovers of light. It’s also a fantastic honeymoon destination in general, with some of the most luxurious hotels and spas in the country, incredible night life, and several natural attractions not too far outside the city. This picture is of the Hoover Dam at night, which is about a 45-minute drive from the city. (more…)

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The Unsung Superhero of Education

The Unsung Superhero of the ClassroomWe all want the best for our children, and one of the most important ways we can help the next generation is by ensuring that they are receiving the highest quality education they can. But what if I told you there is an element to education that most people overlook when discussing ways to change education, even though it has been proven to improve behavior and focus, reduce disruptions and increase reading speed and learning capacity?

Though often overlooked, classroom environment plays a crucial role in students’ abilities to focus and learn. Think about it. If you want to be really focused and productive, where do you go? All people – children included – have different learning styles, and they are very much affected by the environments in which we learn. That is why it is essential that educators take the time to learn about all the ways lighting can impact a classroom, both positively and negatively.

First, let’s talk about color temperature. Color temperature is something that many educators don’t know to watch out for, but it can have a dramatic impact on the success or failure of a classroom as a learning environment. The warmth or coolness of light is measured in degrees Kelvin, where higher temperatures (above 3,500 Kelvin) equate with cooler, more vividly white light, and lower temperatures (below 3,500 Kelvin) are warmer and more yellow. Research has shown that full-spectrum, cool white light is best for encouraging concentration in a classroom, so swapping out outdated fixtures for newer technology could be a great start to better classroom lighting.

Although fluorescent fixtures are popular in schools, the way they flicker (often imperceptibly) has been linked with eye strain, fatigue and headaches, all of which contribute to poor concentration. For this reason, LEDs are a better option in places like classrooms and offices. Not only do they reduce fatigue, but they are extremely energy efficient, long-lasting, and often capable of changing their color temperature or dimming in brightness. These qualities make this type of light a fantastic investment for a classroom environment. (more…)

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Lighting Upgrade Tax Incentives to Expire in December

Don't miss out on tax incentives.If you’re considering a switch to LED lighting in your commercial building, but you’re still on the fence, you shouldn’t hesitate for too long. After December 31, 2013, two primary tax incentives for upgrading your lights are set to expire – the Section 179d EPACT Incentive and the Bonus Depreciation Incentive.

If you’ve never heard of these opportunities to help make up for the initial cost of new LEDs, allow me to explain…

The Section 179d EPACT Incentive allows you to deduct 60 cents per square foot on lighting upgrades. This incentive is part of The Energy Policy Act of 2005 to encourage the construction of energy efficient buildings. It also includes deductions for HVAC systems, building envelopes, and service hot water systems that reduce the total annual building energy costs by 50% or more compared to ASHRAE 90.1-2001 minimum requirements. It’s available to owners of both new and existing commercial buildings. (more…)

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5 Ways To Choose An LED Light Bulb

LEDs are at the forefront of light industry discussion because they are such a gamechanger when it comes to energy efficiency and lifespan. But how do recent developments to LED technology affect the everyday consumer? What’s the simplest way to navigate this uncharted territory when shopping for LED light bulbs? The very recent availability of an LED replacement for the common household incandescent lamp has created a world of new potential, and along with it a whole new set of standards. In this post, we will be discussing the various ways to distinguish between the different LED options.

Watts vs. Lumens
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1. Light Output

Incandescent lamps have always been measured in watts, because for a really long time people equated the electricity it took to light a bulb with the luminosity it created. So “60 watts” came to mean “the brightness of a 60-watt incandescent lamp,” even though luminosity is measured in lumens, not watts.

With the introduction of more energy efficient lighting, however, this standard doesn’t work. It takes significantly less wattage to produce the same amount of light in an LED or fluorescent lamp, so it’s important for consumers to understand the luminosity of a bulb rather than simply its wattage.

Luminosity, or lamp brightness, is measured in lumens. The chart to the right demonstrates the amount of lumens a standard incandescent light bulb produces, so if you’re used to watts you can easily figure out what lumen count you want in your new LED bulb.

An LED lamp’s packaging or product description might mention how comparable its lumens are to the light output of a 60-, 75- or 100-watt incandescent bulb, but it’s wise to know ahead of time what luminosity you want just in case the incandescent watt-equivalent is not included.

Takeaway: Lumens are how the brightness of an LED light bulb is measured. You’ll choose your bulb based on how bright you want the light to shine, not by how much energy it will be using.


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4 Ways Lighting Can Save the Day on Your Big Day

Love is in the air! Fall officially began last week, so we are in the throes of the autumn wedding season. Although the summer months have traditionally been the most popular for weddings, autumn weddings have steadily risen in popularity and nowadays, you’re just as likely to receive an orange maple leaf save-the-date as you are a frilly invite with a flower border.

But as we all (should have) learned in elementary school, when the seasons change, the angle of sunlight touching the earth changes as well, resulting in a different quality and duration of sunlight. While many people prefer the more “golden” tones of autumn afternoons (especially photographers!), it can certainly be challenging to keep your special day well-lit when the sun begins to set. But never fear! Here is a list of four ways lighting can save the day on your big day.

Professional Lighting Design
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1. Good lighting design can transform an event.

If you can, hire a lighting designer for your wedding. Great lighting can be the difference between a spectacular party and a “well, they tried hard.” Acclaimed lighting designer Bentley Meeker said that with the right lighting, a $25,000 wedding can look like a $75,000 wedding. Lighting design can be pricey, but it’s plenty cost-effective.

Sometimes event planners and wedding florists provide their own lighting, so be sure to ask about that when booking your big day. If they don’t, look into a lighting design firm that specializes in weddings. You can see from this photo (from a reception designed by Extreme Productions) how glamorous professional wedding lighting can be. If you can afford to go all out, you won’t be sorry.

The reason lighting at a wedding is so important is it can really make or break a venue’s ambiance. Whether you want a romantic vibe, like in the picture, or more of a warm, casual family feel, lighting can make a huge difference on how successful you are in achieving the aura you desire. You will want to look into professional lighting design, especially if your wedding takes place outside. Many venues have pre-approved lighting designers familiar with their codes, so make sure to find out when venue-hunting.

But if hiring a lighting designer is outside your budget, don’t freak out! There are plenty of ways for you to have great lighting at your wedding without breaking the bank.


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