Mercury Minimization / High Intensity Discharge Lamps

Location & Description: Most HID lamps are used in security, outdoor, or warehouse applications. Probable locations are parking-lot light poles, warehouse rafters, and the outside walls of buildings. There are three types of HID bulbs; Mercury vapor, high-pressure sodium, and metal halide. All three contain mercury.

Amount of Mercury: From 20 to 250 milligram are found in the average HID lamp.

Alternative Devices: Until recently, there were few alternatives for mercury containing HID lamps, which provide high intensity, energy-efficient light. However, mercury-free HID lamps have been developed recently, and are becoming increasingly available on the market. It is extremely important to properly recycle existing mercury lamps to keep the mercury used out of the environment.

Safe Removal: Depending on the type of light, screwdrivers, nut drivers or wrenches may be necessary. Usually the best way to remove the light is to remove the whole lighting unit. The ballasts and batteries usually also contain PCBs and a toxic type of battery acid that should also be handled properly. The average time to remove these lights is around 90 seconds.

Safe Disposal:

Take lamps to a consolidation site or arrange for a lamp transporter to pick them up.


Find out whether you must follow any record keeping and other regulatory requirements, depending on the amount of hazardous waste your business generates. Click here for OEPA Pollution Prevention.