Safe Handling & Disposal of LED Bulbs

Safe Handling & Disposal of LED Bulbs

Read our tips below and stay safe when you handle, install, use or dispose of light bulbs.


Handle With Care

Lamps should always be handled with care and stored in safe environments to reduce the chances of glass breaking. It is important to note that some lamps have toxic substances inside them, which can be released if the glass is broken.

Incandescent lamps are very low risk when broken. Just be sure to handle the broken glass carefully.

Discharge lamps (such as metal halide lamps) and fluorescent tubes must be handled cautiously. Check what the policies of your local waste disposal unit are.

Never force a lamp in or out of a fitting, as this can cause the glass to break. This website’s “My Bulbs” section contains a list of where you have installed screw-in, twist lock or push fit fittings.


Keep Your Fingers Safe

Lamps are hot once they have been in use. A lot of light bulbs generate more heat than light so do not place them next to material that can catch fire. Always read the packaging and safety instruction to minimise your personal risk and chances of fire.

Pictograms generally demonstrate where light and heat are emitted.

Follow best practice guidelines for installation and disposal.

Only use the right light bulb for your fitting. Certain lamps may look similar but that does not make them suitable for use in the same fitting. Using the wrong fitting may result in fire or damage.

Some lamps contain gases that can implode or explode in the event that the glass breaks. Also remember that lamps shouldn’t be broken as a means of disposal, unless protective clothing is used and specific processes are followed.

Pay attention to the maximum wattage that has been recommended, and the bulb recommended for a fitting. Not doing this can damage your fitting and put you at risk of causing a fire. Lampshades are rated according to the shape of the bulb and the maximum wattage of the bulb. Using a bigger or higher wattage bulb shortens the distance between bulb and fabric.

There is a bigger range of lamps designed for indoor use than outdoor use, and it is important not to expose indoor lights to the outdoor elements. Golf ball style lamps should only be used outdoors when the fitting is watertight, and the wattage is less than 25W. Larger light bulbs can crack if they are exposed to rain when they are still hot.


The WEEE Directive

The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE) promotes recycling to minimise hazardous substances in landfills and its effects on humans and the environment. Electronic equipment contains a significant amount of hazardous substances.

The WEEE mandate is not applicable to traditional lamps with filaments, as these can be disposed of as normal waste. It does include fluorescent tubes, mercury, SONS, compact fluorescents, energy savers, metal halide and other discharge lamps. These lamps contain a combination of lead, sodium, cadmium or mercury, all of which have detrimental effects on the environment.

Commencing in August 2005, all relevant lamps have been marked by a bin symbol with a cross on it, which indicate they require special disposal.



The Restriction of Use Of Certain Hazardous Substances Directive came into effect in July 2006. This directive limits the amount of cadmium, mercury, chromium, hexavalent and lead used in lamp manufacturing.