Take Back The Light

Take Back the Light (TBTL)

Take Back the Light was Canada’s leading light recycling program for businesses and institutions and provided a simple low-cost opportunity to have mercury-containing lamps recycled responsibly. The program was the first of its kind in Canada and demonstrated the power of procurement to influence how products were managed at end-of-life.

The program worked with both buyers and sellers to utilize reverse logistics to recover and properly recycle lights to the highest environmental standards. Ninety-eight per cent (98%) of each light collected was diverted from disposal with component parts reused wherever possible creating a closed loops systems and fostering a more circular economy.

More than 31 million lights were recovered through the program and diverted more than 110 kg of mercury from entering the environment.


  • The improper disposal of fluorescent lamps results in hundreds of kilograms of mercury leaking into the environment contaminating water bodies to the point that fish may not be safe for consumption.
  • Take Back the Light keeps harmful mercury emissions from polluting our air, water, and soil.
  • 98 per cent of each lamp collected is diverted from disposal, recycled and the component parts are used in new products (glass, aluminum, phosphorus, and mercury).
  • Participating Take Back the Light distributors have the opportunity to provide value-added services to their customers by offering to take back all spent lamps.
  • For lamp buyers, if you are not working with a Take Back the Light distributor, the program’s website can refer you to one or we can tailor the program to suit your specific recycling needs.
  • Take Back the Light ensures you always get the best possible price for lamp recycling. As the program expands and the number of participants increase, the recycling costs will go down.
  • Program participants have a unique opportunity to brand themselves as partners in the Take Back the Light program to demonstrate their environmental leadership.
Take Back The Light empowered organizations to recycle their lamps by simplifying the process and using sheer bulk buying power to get the best possible price for lamp recycling. This program was an example of how using buying power can shift markets. Participating in the program made both environmental and economic sense, especially when the current reality is that only 7% of fluorescent lamps are recycled in Ontario.
A professional portrait of Jo-Anne St. Godard.
Jo-Anne St. Godard

Recycling Pathway & Circular Economy

With Take Back the Light, our approved processors adhered to the highest standards in lightbulb recycling. We required proof of mercury collection, the reason behind our entire mandate!

Proper bulb recycling means bulbs are crushed and separated into their respective components, which find their way back into other markets. Recovered phosphor powder was separated and sent for reuse, and metallic mercury was also distilled and cleaned to be collected and kept in circulation.

Take Back The Light’s Contribution to Lamp Recycling


31,465,093 units

7,427,649.9 kg

110.67532 kg

106,226.15 kg

109,058.01 kg

47,197.64 kg

7,690,242.3347 kg

Thank you to all of the participants for making this program a success!




Become a Member

We offer collaborative opportunity and inspiration to redefine value in communities across Canada through showcase opportunities and putting circular economy concepts into action.