Safety Policies

SY31 Lamp Use and Disposal

Policy Status: 


Subject Matter Expert: 

Charles Williams, 865-0812,

Policy Steward: 

Director of Environmental Health and Safety



To establish a policy and procedures for the safe handling and proper disposal of potentially hazardous lamps generated at all Penn State University locations (except the Hershey Medical Center) and to mandate the replacement of high mercury content bulbs with low level or non-mercury containing bulbs.


The University is required by Federal Regulations, 40 CFR 273 (Universal Waste Regulations), to ensure the proper handling and disposal of these wastes.


The regulations define a lamp as follows: defined as the bulb or tube portion of an electric lighting device. A lamp is specifically designed to produce radiant energy, most often in the ultraviolet, visible, and infra-red regions of electromagnetic spectrum. Examples include, but are not limited to,fluorescent, compact fluorescent (CFL), high intensity discharge, neon, mercury vapor, high pressure sodium and metal halide lamps.”

Those responsible for installation of replacement fluorescent lamps shall only use low mercury bulbs as identified by the manufacturer.


Fluorescent and other hazardous lamps:

  1. Supervisors are responsible for ensuring that employees responsible for replacing bulbs are trained on this policy and familiar with the Lamps (Fluorescent Light Tube) and Ballast Disposal Guidance document available on the EHS web page (
  2. Remove lamp from fixture intact.
  3. Place lamp into original shipping container, if usable, or into containers provided by EHS. Do not tape bulbs together.
  4. Properly label exterior of each container with the minimum information below:


Building Name

Accumulation Start Date *

*Note: the date will be the date when the container is started.

  1. Broken lamps shall be collected into a plastic lined box (any intact box lined with a plastic bag is acceptable), taped closed and disposed of through EHS by filling out a pick up request from the EHS website.
  2. Containers shall not be stored on site greater than twelve months and disposed of through EHS by filling out a pick up request from the EHS website.


Lamps must be stored in a manner that maintains the integrity of the lamps and storage containers, prevents the leakage or release of waste from the containers, and provides protection from water, rain and wind.


Environmental Health and Safety will be responsible for coordinating the pick-up and disposal of lamps. EHS is also responsible for implementation and enforcement of this policy. Normal waste disposal costs are funded through EHS.


Collection and storage procedures for lamps are the same as at University Park. EHS retains a licensed disposal vendor to provide services for all University facilities. In general, this service is provided to the Campuses twice a year at no cost. Materials shall be packaged as per procedures established by EHS and the vendor.


For questions, additional detail, or to request changes to this policy, please contact the Director of Environmental Health and Safety.

Most recent changes:

  • January 13, 2023 - Editorial change to update Policy Steward.
  • November 16, 2021 - Editorial changes. Updated RESPONSIBILITIES OF PERSONS WHO GENERATE LAMPS FOR DISPOSAL to include disposal guidance document available on the EHS website.  Added Accumulation Start Date.  Updated DISPOSAL OF LAMPS AT NON-UNIVERSITY PARK LOCATIONS to reflect services provided to campuses twice a year at no cost. 

Revision History (and effective dates):

  • June 10, 2014 - Editorial changes. Updated DEFINITION to include compact fluorescent lamps. Added policy steward/ further information references, in the event that there are questions or requests for changes to the policy.

  • October 7, 2009 - Updated policy to reflect change in collecting all fluorescent lamps and labeling of containers.
  • March 9, 2007 - Updated "Fluorescent and other hazardous lamps" section (#6), modifying storage requirements for lamps.
  • October 10, 2001 - Changed the exterior labeling requirements for each storage package of used/broken fluorescent and other hazardous lamps pending disposal.
  • March 26, 2001 - New policy.

Date Approved: 

November 16, 2021