Since March 2006, consumers are obligated according to the Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act (ElektroG) to dispose of used lamps (with the exception of incandescent and halogen lamps) properly and in an environmentally friendly manner, by returning them to a municipal collection point or a recycling center. The lamps that must not be disposed of in household waste include:
- Fluorescent lamps (fluorescent tubes)
- Discharge lamps (including metal halide lamps)
- LED lamps
- Compact fluorescent lamps with or without ballasts (energy-saving lamps)
You can find a free collection point near you at www.lightcycle.de.
Incandescent and halogen lamps are not affected by these regulations and can still be disposed of in household waste.
Proper handling of broken energy-saving lamps: Energy-saving lamps contain small amounts of mercury, which are well below the legal limits and pose no danger to health. Nevertheless, some precautions should be taken if an energy-saving lamp breaks:
- Carefully pick up the fragments with a moistened cloth.
- Seal them airtight in a plastic bag or a glass jar.
- Bring them to the hazardous waste collection point.
- Avoid skin contact and ventilate the room for 20 to 30 minutes afterward.
- Do not use a vacuum cleaner to clean up the fragments.