Waste Management Reminder: Waste Lamps and Bulbs

Waste lamps include inoperable or broken electric lamps or bulbs. Waste lamps are a potential safety and environmental concern because they may contain mercury or other toxic heavy metals. For this reason, several types of waste lamps are regulated as universal waste.

Universal Waste Management Requirements

Because they contain toxic materials, universal waste lamps have specific federally mandated management and recycling requirements. USPS® sites must store universal waste lamps in closed containers that are clearly labeled, and properly train employees who manage these wastes to fulfill the following requirements:

n Universal waste lamp and bulb pick-up (or mailback);

n Subsequent offsite recycling within one year (365 days) of the day the wastes were generated; and

n Maintenance of accurate recycling records.

For more information about universal waste management requirements applicable to waste lamps, please visit

Common types of lamps that must be managed as universal waste include:

n Fluorescent Lamps. This category includes 4-foot and 8-foot linear, U-shaped, circular, and compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) bulbs. Also included are green-tipped or low-mercury lamps, which must be managed the same as other fluorescent lamps.

n Neon Lamps. Often used in brightly colored signs, neon lights that emit colors other than red use gases that may contain mercury.

n High Intensity Discharge (HID) Lamps. HID lamps are often associated with large interior spaces that have high ceilings, such as warehouses, and exterior lighting, such as peripheral security lighting, street lights, and fuel island lighting. HID lamps may also be found in newer motor vehicle headlights, as well as LCD or DLP projection television sets or projection displays.

n Light Emitting Diode (LED) Lamps: LED lamps may contain federally regulated metals such as lead, chromium, or selenium. LED lamps are now available in 4-foot and 8-foot linear tube sizes. Note that multiple, individual LED bulbs are typically contained in an LED lamp.

n Ultraviolet (UV) Lamps: UV lamps emit high intensity UV light. Small UV lamps may be present in USPS mail sorting automation platforms, such as the Advanced Facer Canceler System. UV bulbs may also be used in disinfection and germicidal lighting systems.

Recycling Options

The Postal Service™ has contracts for universal waste management with Cleanlites Recycling, Inc. (Cleanlites). The scope of services is available in eBuy+, and includes both mailback recycling containers and onsite waste pick-up.

For contract information, employees should refer to the following Material Logistics Bulletins (MLBs):

n MLB-CO-19-003 for Mailback Recycling Containers:

n MLB-CO-18-003 for Onsite Waste Pick-Up:

Important: Do not send waste bulbs or lamps through the mail to the Atlanta Mail Recovery Center, Ybor City Learning and Distribution Center, or Topeka Material Distribution Center.