Can LED bulbs be recycled?

LEDs do not belong in the household waste, they have to be recycled. They contain electronic components that are very valuable and should be recycled. These include rare earths and electronic components such as diodes and semiconductors.

Key facts at a glance:

  • low energy consumption and long service life: LEDs are an environmentally friendly alternative
  • they are recyclable and do not belong in the household waste
  • valuable electronic components can be recycled
  • hand in your old lamps at municipal collection points (e.g. mobile home for hazardous substances and recycling centers) or use the return points of sales outlets and manufacturers
  • Thanks to the waste disposal fee, the return of your lamps is guaranteed to be free of charge

What makes LEDs environmentally friendly?

Due to their low energy consumption, LEDs are an energy-efficient and environmentally friendly lighting variant. They are significantly more efficient than incandescent or energy-saving lamps, for example. They also have a longer lifespan. As a result, the luminous bodies are no longer exchanged and disposed of as often.

If you have already switched to LED lighting , you are making your contribution to improving the ecological footprint. If not, it’s never too late to do something good for the environment. Due to the increasing demand, it is only a matter of time before the used light sources are processed further.

Why do LED lamps need to be recycled?

Usually, a crossed-out garbage can is printed on the LED bulbs. This pictogram means that the products do not belong in the household waste, but are recycled.

LEDs are also compliant with the RoHs directive (Restriction of Hazardous Substances). In compliance with this directive, it is forbidden to use six dangerous substances (including lead, mercury, cadmium … etc.). The absence of these substances means that the light sources are not toxic. Therefore, they can be used without hesitation and recycled just like normal lamps.

How are LED lights recycled?

Although they do not contain any toxic substances, they do contain valuable electronic components. These can be reused through recycling. Diodes, semiconductors, and transformers can be recycled like any standard electronic device. LEDs also consist of glass (88%), various metals (5%), and other materials (7%). Some of the metals contained are very valuable for recycling, such as indium, gallium, and rare earth metals (REE; Rare Earth Elements), which perish in the earth’s crust. So that the individual components can be better recycled, the lighting elements are broken down into their individual components for recycling.