Safe CFL bulb disposal

Energy-saving lightbulbs used at home (compact fluorescent light bulbs - CFLs) are more energy efficient, but they contain a small amount of mercury and need to be disposed of safely. 

Residents can recycle these bulbs for free at the Nelson Waste Recovery Centre, Vivian Place, Tāhunanui.

Address and hours of Nelson Waste Recovery Centre.

  • Please do not put ANY type of light bulb out with your kerbside recycling
  • Please note this service is for households only. Commercial hazardous waste, including bulbs, is not accepted at the Waste Recovery Centre. Businesses are responsible for the safe disposal of commercial waste and can discuss disposal options with their commercial waste collection provider.

What happens to the mercury

Our recycling contractor sends the material to the collection facility in Christchurch, where the mercury is separated for recycling.

What if I accidentally break a fluorescent lamp in my house?

Don’t use a vacuum cleaner or brush to clean up the breakage (this will spread debris and could contaminate the equipment), and keep people and pets away until the cleanup is complete.

Start by opening windows and ventilate the area for 15 minutes.  Use rubber gloves to carefully pick up the larger pieces and place in closed container or bag.  Collect the smaller pieces and dust with sticky tape. Finish by wiping the area with a wet wipe or damp cloth, placing this cloth and the sticky tape in the closed container with the other residue.  Place the closed container in an outside rubbish bin or drop in to transfer station. Wash your hands when you have finished.

If a carpet or rug is under the area where the lightbulb is being changed, homeowners may consider putting a drop cloth on the floor so that any accidental breakage can be easily cleared up.

What about batteries?

Council has free drop-offs for batteries at the Nelson Waste Recovery Centre and Nelson Environment Centre, Vivian Place, Tāhunanui. For more information, go to

Other hazardous waste

Other hazardous waste from your home must be taken to the Waste Recovery Centre instead of going out with your rubbish, including:

  • Plant and pest sprays
  • Waste oil
  • LPG bottles
  • Household chemicals

Find out more

You can get more information about safe disposal of hazardous waste on the Ministry for the Environment website.

For more information on Nelson City Council’s rubbish and recycling programmes, please contact Customer Services, ph +64 3 546 0200.