3R Drive-Thru: Light Bulb Recycling

Recycle Light Bulbs; earn scholarship funds for your village!

If you feel in the dark about light bulb disposal, here’s a bright idea: recycle used light bulbs to earn scholarship money! The Woodlands Township Environmental Services Department has selected Incandescent, Compact Fluorescent (CFL) and LED light bulbs for the annual Village Recycling Challenge held at the 3R Recycling Drive-thru on Saturday, November 13, 2021 from 9 a.m. to noon in The Woodlands High School’s parking lot. Light bulbs must be intact, not broken. Batteries and other listed items will also be accepted. This event is for residents only, no businesses. 

This year’s Recycling Village Challenge shines a light on the importance of responsible waste disposal. Recycling light bulbs saves material that can be reused, reduces landfill space, and keeps hazardous chemicals out of our environment. Although they are made of glass, metal and plastic, light bulbs cannot be recycled in your curbside cart 

How are light bulbs recycled? 

Light bulbs are put through a machine, called a tumbler, which crushes and separates the primary components: glass, metal, plastic, mercury and phosphor. These materials are then stored for manufacturing into new items.  

Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) contain a small amount of mercury gas. If CFLs are disposed of in a trash can or landfill, the glass can crack and release mercury into the environment. Chemicals from CFLs and other hazardous waste, such as batteries that end up in the landfill, can leach into the surrounding water table, endangering human health and the environment. CFLs and other household hazardous waste should always be treated with care and safely disposed of through special collections. If you are saving CFL bulbs for recycling, please store them in a safe place such as their original box to avoid damage.

Want to save money, energy and even water? 

LED light bulbs use 80% less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs, saving energy, money and even water. They also pose almost no fire risk because they emit less heat than other bulbs. LED lightbulbs may cost more up front, but they’ll save you hundreds or thousands of dollars over the years because of efficiency and long life span.  

Join us for free recycling of select items and support your village by bringing Incandescent, Compact Fluorescent (CFL) and LED light bulbs to the 3R Recycling Drive-thru for the Village Recycling Challenge. The village that collects the most will receive a donation to its scholarship fund from The Woodlands G.R.E.E.N.  

Can’t make it to 3R Recycling Drive-thru?  

That’s ok! The Montgomery County Precinct 3 Recycling Center (1122 Pruitt Road in Spring), Home Depot, Lowes, Batteries Plus and Best Buy accept different types of light bulbs all year. For a comprehensive list of local recycling opportunities of other oddities such as electronics, batteries, paints, pharmaceuticals, and more check out the Recycle More Guide.  


For more information, visit www.thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov/3rbazaar

How a Light Bulb Can Save Water

Yes, a light bulb!

Let’s shine some light on the link between water and energy. The fact is, they’re inseparable. It takes a LOT of energy to capture, treat and deliver water, and 90% of all electricity generation is water intensive. Both of these critical resources are in need of conservation as our local, national and global populations grow. Fortunately, conserving one helps us conserve the other.

Let’s take a deeper dive into this critical relationship…

  1. Energy can’t happen without water: 
  • 15% of all global water withdrawals are for energy production. 
  • In the U.S., freshwater sources provide 40% of the water for power generation. 
  • Freshwater availability varies with weather and climate and is coming under ever-increasing pressure from development. 
  1. Water can’t get to our faucets without energy: 
  • Drinking water and wastewater systems account for 3–4% of all energy use in the United States. 
  • Electricity accounts for 25–40% of the operating cost of a wastewater utility and approximately 80% of drinking water processing and distribution costs. 

This intertwined relationship increases the vulnerability of each; what threatens one, threatens both. We’re all aware of the current drought issues in the western U.S.. We see the images of fires, dried lakes and desiccated crops. Less publicized but equally critical are the constraints being placed on power plants throughout the region. It wasn’t that long ago, 2011-2013, that we experienced similar conditions in our region and they are sure to happen again. Our extreme storms pose another threat to the water-energy nexus, only in reverse. Storm-related power outages place great stress on water facilities, especially treatment facilities. In 2017, Hurricane Harvey left hundreds of communities in southeast Texas without safe drinking water. In total, 45 water systems shut down and 171 areas issued boil water notices. Thankfully, The Woodlands avoided that problem. Let’s hope we’re that lucky next time.

These are large-scale issues that may seem out of our control. Fortunately, they aren’t. The individual actions you and I take each day make a difference. More good news, most water and energy saving actions are simple and easy to do. And they save money, too! Essentially, we get paid to do the right thing.

Make a commitment today to take action and you’ll save water AND energy at the same time.

What a Bright Idea

Are there still incandescent bulbs burning in your home? If so, change them over to LED bulbs. They last longer, burn cooler and use a lot less energy. Here’s a great offer: Stop by the Environmental Services office and ask for a free LED Nightlight, or bring in a burned out incandescent bulb and we’ll give you a 75w equivalent LED light bulb to get you started in transitioning to “water saving” lighting (while supplies last). NO BROKEN BULBS please!

  • Environmental Services
  • 8203 Millennium Forest Drive
  • Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.