"Like paint, batteries, thermostats, and other hazardous household items, CFLs should be disposed of properly. Do not throw CFLs away in your household garbage if better disposal options exist." (Energy Star.gov)
To find local disposal information, check: www.earth911.org to find options by entering your zip code or, call 1-877-EARTH-911 for more assistance (links below).
> Another option is to check directly with your local waste management agency for recycling options and disposal guidelines in your community.
> IKEA stores take back used CFLs, drop yours off at any location!
> Additional information is available at www.lamprecycle.org.
Rules of Thumb
Never send a CFL or other mercury-containing product to an incinerator.
If your local waste management agency offers no other disposal options except your household garbage, place the CFL in a plastic bag and seal it before putting it in the trash. If your waste agency incinerates its garbage, you should search a wider geographic area for proper disposal options.
Also - ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs have a two-year warranty. If the bulb fails within the warranty period, return it to your retailer.
What should I do if a CFL breaks?
Because there is such a small amount of mercury in CFLs, your greatest risk if a bulb breaks is getting cut from glass shards. Research indicates that there is no immediate health risk to you or your family should a bulb break and it's cleaned up properly. You can minimize any risks by following these proper clean-up and disposal guidelines:
Sweep up—don't vacuum—all of the glass fragments and fine particles.
Place broken pieces in a sealed plastic bag and wipe the area with a damp paper towel to pick up any stray shards of glass or fine particles. Put the used towel in the plastic bag as well.
If weather permits, open windows to allow the room to ventilate.