Have a lightbulb moment with WEEE Ireland

Irish households are not recycling their used compact fluorescent lightbulbs – Tadg (10) and Rian (7) O’Reilly from Ratoath, Co. Meath, highlighting that CFL lightbulb recycling is free, easy and local.


WEEE Ireland have published findings that 3.2 million lightbulbs were recycled in 2018, despite an estimated 10 million being sold in Ireland in the same period.  WEEE Ireland is calling on Irish consumers to “Have a Lightbulb Moment” and recycle their compact fluorescent (CFL) lightbulbs.

Recent research commissioned by WEEE Ireland highlights that almost 40% Irish adults still dispose of used lightbulbs in their general waste, despite the current era of heightened environmental awareness.  As part of WEEE Ireland’s Small Things Matter campaign, they are reminding householders that energy saving lightbulbs, fluorescent tubes and their fittings can be recycled, and it is free, easy and local to do!

Commenting on the findings, Leo Donovan, CEO of WEEE Ireland said: “Many people are making the change to LEDs for their home lighting.  While Ireland is excellent at recycling waste household electrical goods and batteries, it is clear that when it comes to what to do with our old lightbulbs, we are still in the dark.  Particularly surprising is the number of young people who don’t recycle their lightbulbs – over a third of 18-24 year-olds dispose of them in with their general rubbish, despite e-waste recycling being free and easy to do.”

Jim Copeland, Head of Member Relations for the Irish Hardware Association says “Batteries are the most commonly-recycled small electrical item in Ireland, with a collection point in almost every shop.  We now want people to also associate their local hardware or lighting store with recycling their waste lightbulbs in the same way.”


Recycling lighting and electrical waste benefits the environment, allowing plastics, metals and glass to be recovered for further use in manufacturing and ensuring hazardous waste is disposed of safely.   Waste CFL lightbulbs may contain a small amount of mercury vapour or metal dust, making them unsuitable for disposal in general household waste.

Irish householders and small businesses can recycle their waste lightbulbs free of charge in a number of convenient ways:

  • By returning them to their local hardware store
  • By returning them to their local lighting store
  • By asking their lighting installer to return waste lightbulbs and lighting equipment to their wholesaler
  • By bringing them to their nearest local authority recycling centre


Leo Donovan is keen to point out electronic waste is recycled here in Ireland too “We are very proud that 100% of waste lighting equipment returned is recycled here in Ireland, at our WEEElabex Certified partners Irish Lamp Recycling, Athy, Co. Kildare.” 

For an interactive map to find a participating retailer or local authority recycling centre and to find out more about what can be recycled, please visit www.smallthingsmatter.ie