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NorthWestern Energy encourages its customers to properly dispose of compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs).  They contain electronic components and an extremely small amount of mercury. The amount of mercury is so small that it does not pose a health risk to you or your family. However, we are working to keep large accumulations of CFLs out of the landfills.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that consumers take advantage of available local recycling options for compact fluorescent light bulbs. EPA is working with CFL manufacturers and major U.S. retailers to expand recycling and disposal options. Consumers can contact their local municipal solid waste agency directly, or go to or to identify local recycling options.

In Montana, you are permitted to put used or broken CFLs in the garbage. The EPA recommends that you seal the bulb in two plastic bags and put it into the outside trash, or other protected outside location, for the next normal trash collection. Never send a fluorescent light bulb or any other mercury-containing product to an incinerator.

To find out more about the proper disposal of CFLs, click here to download our fact sheet.

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