Do I need to recycle low-mercury ( green end cap ) fluorescent lamps?
Under federal regulations, the Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP) determines if a lamp is a hazardous waste. Lamps that pass the TCLP test for mercury are not hazardous and therefore, are not subject to federal regulation. This test measures the leachability of certain metals, including mercury and organic constituents. Under this procedure, the waste leachate must contain less than 0.2 milligrams per liter (mg/L) of mercury in order to pass the test. Learn more about the TCLP. Some manufacturers of fluorescent tubes produce low-mercury lamps that they claim pass the TCLP test for mercury. The amount of mercury in a low-mercury bulb can range from 3.5 to 4 milligrams compared to a standard fluorescent bulb which ranges from 8 to 14 milligrams of mercury. These lamps may be identified by green end caps (often referred to as green-tipped lamps), or green etchings on the lamps. EPA encourages the recycling of all mercury-containing lamps, regardless of the mercury content.