How to Dispose of Projector Lamps

Updated: Feb 14, 2024 11:49 AM
how to dispose of projector lamps guide

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Table of Contents

Difficulty Easy
Steps 3
Time Required 20 minutes
Tools Needed Bubble Wrap, Cardboard Box, Original Packaging

You should recycle your projector lamps as they expire through local retailers, mail-ins to the manufacturer, or through a waste collection agency. Many projectors use metal halide bulbs, a subcategory of high-intensity discharge (HID) bulbs. Although these types of lamps used to be common, they have steadily been replaced by safer light bulbs that do not contain mercury.

Key Takeaways_

  • Recycle your projector bulbs through one of the designated programs, including through a retailer, mail-in kit, or waste management.
  • Some retailers offer recycling programs for certain mercury-containing light bulbs.
  • To eliminate hazardous waste, you may be able to find a designated waste management service that can pick up your lamp.

STEP 1 Turn Off Your Projector

Turn off the projector and allow it to cool before handling the lamp to prevent injury. Then once cooled, remove the lamp cover (you might need to unscrew some screws).

Then once the lamp is exposed, unscrew the bulb from the projector.

STEP 2 Put Into Original Packaging

Put the projector lamp into its original packaging

When preparing the lamp for recycling, using the original packaging, a box, or bubble wrap can protect it from breaking during transport.

STEP 3 Decide Where To Recycle Your Lamp

Retailers Who Recycle Mercury-Containing Lamps

  • Many home appliance retailers offer recycling at their stores. However, you will need to check with your local store before going to ensure that they are participating in the recycling program, especially if you have fluorescent tubes.
    • These stores include Home Depot, Ikea, Lowe’s, and TrueValue, as well as some region-specific stores such as Aubuchon Hardware and Bartell Drugs.
  • Some recycling centers offer free services, and others may charge a fee. Make sure you know which type of lamp you have so they can confirm whether they accept those incandescent bulbs.

insider tip

Some hardware stores will recycle your electronics for you, so you should check with them.

Mail-Back Services for Projector Lamps

Mail the lamp back to the manufacturer using a mail-back recycling kit.
  • You may be able to mail in your used light bulb through the use of a pre-labeled recycling kit. Bulb manufacturers and other organizations sell these.
  • You purchase the kit and then send your used bulb through the mail to a specified recycling center.
    • Some brands that offer this service include EcoLights, Everlight, Inc, and Lampmaster.

STAT: Some bulb manufacturers and other organizations sell pre-labeled recycling kits that allow you to mail used bulbs to recycling centers. (source)

  • When packaging the bulb up for mailing, be careful when handling it and package them as described. The recycling center will handle the product after that, preventing them from going to landfills.

Waste Collection Agency

  • Some waste collection agencies collect hazardous wastes, but they may charge a fee to do so. Because of this fee, you may want to look at more than one to find the best option for your area.
  • In some states, you can place the mercury-containing lamps in a plastic bag and put them in the trash for collection.


Many waste management companies will pick up hazardous waste within their service area, but they may have associated fees.

  • However, if you’re area does not allow that, you can likely find a service for collection by looking at the EPA website or your local government’s health website. Some projector models will also offer such aid on their forums.

Dangers of Mercury Exposure

Mercury is found naturally in volcanic eruptions and emissions from the ocean. However, the greatest chance of mercury exposure comes from eating fish or shellfish that was in contaminated water. Mercury can also be found in various technologies, including light bulbs, thermometers, jewelry, and dental fillings.

If these items break, the mercury is released, exposing the user to the metal. Some mercury exposure symptoms are tremors, insomnia, headaches, and emotional changes. Additionally, changes to neuromuscular functions, sensations, nerve responses, and mental functions are possible.


By following the correct disposal procedures, not only do we protect our environment, but we also contribute to a more sustainable approach to technology usage. Remember, the right disposal methods can make a significant difference in minimizing harmful impacts.

How to Dispose of Projector Lamps Questions (FAQ)

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