Top 14 Way to Reuse Light Bulbs

Light bulbs are filled with toxins and as more people are switching to LED’s or CFL’s  many of those old lightbulbs are landing up in landfills, leaking toxic waste into our drinking water. Today more and more people are recycling light bulbs, but still many people still put in the trash, like my neighbor last week!

I Just Gotta Tell Ya

  • According to fastcompany.com: “… U.S. consumers spent about $1 billion to buy about 2 billion lightbulbs–5.5 million every day.”
  • According to wsj.com: “The U.S., which has four billion electric lights using [incandescent] bulbs, represents about a third of the world market.”
  • If every American household changed a single light bulb to an Energy Star bulb, it would provide enough power to light more than 2.5 million homes, while saving consumers money.

Facts About Mercury in Fluorescent Lightbulbs

  • 1 teaspoon -One teaspoon of mercury can contaminate a 20 acre lake forever
  • Each year, an estimated 600 million fluorescent lamps are disposed of in US landfills amounting to 30,000 pounds of mercury waste.

The best thing you can do with Light bulbs

  • Use less.-Turning off lights, making them last longer keeps our landfills cleaner.
  • Use EnergyStar Lightbulbs and still use less
  • Recycle- go to Earth011.com for the closest recycling center
  • Reuse lightbulbs into other things

Ways to Reuse and Recycle Lightbulbs

Make Flower Vases

Lightbulb Flower Vases

Make A Lamp

Lightbulb Lamps

Make a Model Ship

Lightbulb Model

Make a Mini Garden
Make Into Ornaments
Cover with Paper Mache- let harden – drop on the ground and make a rattle.
Reuse and Make a Sculpture

Lightbulb Bumblebee

Lightbulb Decorating Ideas
Make An Aquarium

Lightbulb Aquarium

Make Lightbulb Art

Light Bulb Art

Make Into Balloon Art

LIght Bulb Balloon Art

Make Salt And Pepper Shakers

Lightbulb Salt and Pepper Shakers

Reuse Lightbulb to Make a Concrete Wall Hook

Lightbulb Wall Hook

Make A Valentine

Resources

How To Make a Lightbulb Garden

How To Make a Lightbulb Vase

How To Remade into Lightbulb Lamp

Lightbulb Ornament Ideas

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Comments

  1. Joe D. says:

    Lots of great ideas there Cathy. The “old-fashion” incandescent bulbs can be made into some really interesting artwork. The florescent bulbs, although more energy efficient, are toxic. And they don’t last nearly as long as they claim. In some places in our county they actually make it very difficult to dispose of these responsibly. So I would imagine lots of these mercury laden florescent bulbs get tossed in the trash.

    Joe

  2. threadbeaur says:

    I love all these creative ideas. Who knew there were so many things you could do with your burnt out light bulbs! Thanks for sharing.

  3. good ideas of use the old bulbs, are they use safety?

  4. sprambots says:

    Here is a $20, 10,000 hr, LED, 60 watt (equivalent) light bulb http://www.phillyrambots.com/?page_id=246

  5. rick says:

    you say “equivlent”, but the led and cfl’s are half the lumens for the equivlent incand bulb.

    the cfl don’t last as long, weeks instead of years.

  6. Sensible says:

    Green Eco?
    2 fish living in a lightbulb-sized tank with no filter? How long, do you think, until they die from the pollution of their own excrement?
    Totally ridiculous farce.

  7. Cathy says:

    I think the point was to reuse, you can always use fake fish

  8. Technetium says:

    The fishbulb is a fairly well-known photoshop. Not only is it a terrible suggestion, it’s not even real.

  9. girdhar says:

    i like some of that

  10. april says:

    Ok so how do you get rid of the inside stuff if the bulb? Isn’t that the stuff you have to throw away and polutes? But yea still want to kn it outow how to get

  11. Chris says:

    Seriously? All of these so-called good ideas require removing and discarding the insides of the bulbs. The same toxins and stuff you complain are polluting landfills and lakes. OMG! Your neighbor threw away a light bulb? Well, the end result of these projects (the ones that are real and not photo manipulations) is the same thing, except its just the toxins and not the glass. Recycled light bulbs as salt and pepper shakers? Aside from the fact that they’re not actual bulbs but food safe glass replicas with flat bottoms, I’m pretty sure not many people would want to remove mercury from a bulb and then use them for spices. Make a rattle?! Green Eco? Sorry, not even close. This post is contradictory and very ridiculous.

  12. sharon says:

    How do you get the end off of the light bulb ?

  13. Brenna says:

    I love this! I started collecting/reusing lightbulbs for decorations over a decade ago. They are so beautiful in their way.
    For the non-believers in saving the environment though…
    At the top i was astonished regarding mercury poisioning a whole lake. Then you scroll down and see a lighbulb aquarium. How is that possible?
    I wonder if you could post a note with that idea about how the bulb was made into a safe living environment. Without it, a note of sorts, the validity of your whole point is jepordized.
    Thank you for this page, im so excited to try many of the ideas out!
    Brenna

  14. teresa rudd says:

    the link for the hot air balloon is broken :(

  15. Gems Galore says:

    Ok Cathy. You gave us some really cool ideas to re-use all of our light bulbs, with the exception of a few (the salt and pepper one, the fish tank and the light bulb lamps, *where on earth do you find bulbs that are flat on the bottom? I’ve never seen any in all my years on this earth*, just to name a few) but the QUESTION still stands. How do you dispose of the materials that .are in the bulbs?!?!? I noticed you never came back to answer that question, as I’m sure many others did. Here’s the thing. If you’re so concerned about the environment, then why not tell us how to go about getting rid of the bad stuff?!? Why bother showings us what can be done when in reality, it can’t?!? I clicked on this to see how to make the balloon art and even that was a waste of my time!!! As someone mentioned above, the link doesn’t work so again I ask…. Why bother?!?! Hopefully you’ll have the guts to answer my comment (if it goes through that is, lol). Maybe then we’ll get our questions answered….. *eye roll*

  16. Cathy says:

    Good question and you could take to a bulb recycling center.

  17. Lori says:

    I think many of the above comments are confusing incandescent with compact fluorescent lamps. The lamps used here are incandescent. They contain no mercury, or more accurately getting them out of service reduces methylated mercury in the environment due to reduced coal emissions to service their very low efficiency. Because incandescents contain no mercury, their waste is typically not regulated and they are not recycled, but tossed in municipal landfills. The incandescent lamp contains a tungsten filament and a chaulky interior coating which is typically NOT the same as a fluorescent phosphor. The kaolin clay coating is sometimes eaten for stomach ailments or used in a spray by organic farmers.
    The main danger with them is that the glass is fragile and can cut you. I’d love to know how to safely get the metal base off without hurting myself.

  18. me me me says:

    Cool post!
    One thing I would say is PLEASE do not put a fish in a lightbulb. The common goldfish needs at least five gallons of water (per fish) and an air source (eg. a filter).

    Here’s a good video on how to get the guts out of a bulb:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yx8Apr_fJg

  19. cookie says:

    Incandescent light bulbs are MUCH safer than the new bulbs. Break one and it requires a haz mat team for clean up. The new bulbs are not only more costly, they don’t last as long as advertised and require special handling for disposal.

  20. To get the end off the light bulb – you’ll see a little bit of solder on the end. It’s holding those wires to the little fixtures inside. I took a soldering iron (they’re pretty cheap) and held it to the end till it melted and then it easily pulled apart. Be careful, the metal also heats up quick, don’t burn yourself.

    I use the parts (that aren’t so easily breakable) in steampunk altered art projects or mixed media.

    I love how everybody gets so worked up about everything /sigh. And even if they’re vegetarians they probably still have tires on their cars or soles on most shoes or something … that results in the death of an animal. And I’ve seen worse conditions for a goldfish at the State Fair … and turtle tanks .. chill out people .. if you don’t like a comment, go write your own blog!

  21. denise says:

    Aquarium? So it’s OK to be cruel if you are recycling when doing it? Gross.

  22. Paula Cuffie says:

    boy these are so industrial. I love it! I will be making these.

  23. Hi! We love the Hot Air Balloon decorations and have added it to our round-up of great Hot Air Balloon crafts! Hope that’s OK (but yes, as said before the original link appears to be broken – we would love to credit the original source?)
    xx

    http://buttonsandpaint.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/hot-air-balloon-crafts.html

  24. Marcelo says:

    Very nice, but the Lightbulb Aquarium is a BIG MISTAKE. IT IS SO CRUEL, don´t you think?

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