Recycling Low Energy Light Bulbs

Dear Transitioner,

Did you know that Low Energy Light Bulbs contain mercury and, en masse, are very harmful on the environment? I would imagine you do, but only 18% of the UK are aware of that fact, and even if they do, don’t know what can be done about it.

As founder of a Transition group in my area, in 2007 I lobbied my council to allow me to collect batteries on behalf of my village. Not taking no for an answer, I managed to get permission from the Environment Agency. Once word of what I’d done spread, I helped more and more people do it in their locale, too – many transition groups – and within 2 years the scheme helped collect 35 tonnes of batteries using just 58 volunteers.

After the CoBRA Scheme (Community Battery Recycling Alliance) grew to other areas of the UK, I managed to secure sponsorship for a Low Energy Light Bulb (CFL) collection scheme which is now available to volunteers nationwide (Community Bulb Recycling Alliance).

The scheme allows volunteers to collect CFLs on behalf of their communities using specially designed boxes which, once full, can be taken by the volunteer to a nearby ‘Bulking Up’ centre where the bags will be taken for safe recycling. Normally this would take less than 1/2 hours work every 6-8 weeks but has a huge impact on getting into otherwise hard to reach areas environmentally inefficiently.

I am writing to you to ask if this is something you would like to support in your area. It will be a great promotion for you transition group locally, make people aware they should recycle CFLs, and effectively help get the 7,000 tonnes of CFLs that are expected to hit landfill this year off to safe recycling instead… and all for free!

For more information about CoBRA or to sign up, please visit my website, below, or contact me and I’ll do my best to help your area become Bulb friendly. I hope to have news to do the same with batteries nationwide soon, too, so do join my twitter of Facebook page to be kept up to date. We also have a great ‘how to’ video a friendly filmmaker did for free for us on the website, so please check that out to see how the scheme works.

I look forward to hearing from you if I can be of more help, and in the mean time, thank you for caring.

Kind regards,


Mark David Hatwood FRSA
CoBRA Scheme
email: info [at] cobrascheme [dot] com
0845 4080337
0752 7777416
Twitter: @CobraScheme
Facebook: CoBRA Scheme

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One Response to Recycling Low Energy Light Bulbs

  1. Finn Jackson says:

    This email received from the coordinator of the Cobra project:

    Dear Transitioners

    First, a personal thank you to all the transition groups up and down the country who have decided to support CoBRA in their area. It’s through groups like yourself that we can see this hazardous waste removed from landfill and be safely recycled; and the resources reused.

    I am delighted to announce that Homebase are the first UK chain to collect CoBRA waste. This opens up another 350 collection centres UK wide, nearly tripling the current bulking up points. These Bulking Up points will be live soon on the website and you can easily change to them in your online account if you wish as soon as this s complete. Please be understanding that Homebase are doing this in support of us and that there may be a few teething problems at first. But it’s showing the way for the rest of the retail industry to follow suit, so well done Homebase!

    Also CoBRA is featured in the latest Resource Magazine this quarter. You can read part of the article here: and you can see a video of how the scheme started on YouTube here:

    I look forward to seeing more and more of you become involved and thank you once again for being the first UK environmental group to embrace CoBRA en masse!

    If I can be of any other help, please do let me know, in the mean time, thank you for caring.

    Kind regards,


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