Take Back the Light’s Mercury-Containing Lamp & Recycling Guide 

To better educate our clients and the general public about mercury-containing lamps, non-mercury-containing lamps, and how they should be managed at the end of their lives, we at Take Back the Light have created this downloadable resource. 

It is an illustrated guide that classifies various lamp types and their uses, as well as outlining proper protocol in the event a bulb is  broken.

Each page can be printed or split to be shared as an individual resource, or posted as a whole. 


The Recycling Pathway & Circular Economy


With Take Back the Light, our approved processors must adhere to the highest standards in lightbulb recycling. We require proof of mercury collection, the reason behind our entire mandate!

Proper bulb recycling means bulbs are crushed and separated into their respective components, which find their way back into other markets. Recovered phosphor powder is separated and sent for reuse, and metallic mercury is also distilled and cleaned to be collected and kept in circulation.

Recycling to the Take Back the Light standard means supporting a circular economy. Instead of following the linear pathway of Take, Make and Waste, products considered “waste” in one market are used as resources for the next market. This breaks the linear cycle, and turns our consumption model into a circular one. Using your procurement to reinforce this mindset is something Take Back the Light strongly advocates for, as it benefits everyone in the end and maintains human and environmental health. 


Proposed Code of Practice for the Environmentally Sound Management of End-of-Life Lamps Containing Mercury

February 2016, Released by Environment and Climate Change Canada

Program Requirements For Mercury-Containing Lamps Recycling Processors

This document provides the minimum requirements that a mercury containing lamp processor shall comply with in order to be approved by the Recycling Council of Ontario (RCO) to service its fluorescent lamp recycling stewardship program Take Back the Light.

These criteria aim to ensure that all lamps generated by participants in the TBTL program are recovered and processed in a way that minimizes negative environmental impacts under strict health and safety procedures, and that the maximum amount of each bulb collected is recycled, (i.e. that mercury and its other components—glass, metal and phosphor—are recovered for use in new products).

Processors interested in servicing the TBTL program will be expected to commission a thirdparty auditor recognized by the RCO to verify and validate its claims of recovery and recycling performance and compliance with this document.