Canada’s leading light recycling program

Take Back the Light

Take Back the Light is Canada’s leading light recycling program for businesses and institutions, and provides a simple low-cost opportunity to have fluorescent lamps and light fixtures to be recycled responsibly.

The program works with both buyers and sellers of fluorescent lamps of any kind to recover and properly recycle lights to the highest environmental standards. Ninety-eight per cent of each light collected is diverted from disposal with component parts reused wherever possible.

For buyers of lights, there is no cost to join Take Back the Light and every light is verified and validated for recovery, recycling performance, and compliance through a third-party audit using internationally approved standards.

For sellers, Take Back the Light offers tracked and verified light recycling service as a value-add for current and future customers. There is a modest registration fee, and collection services must be arranged.

Why Take Back the Light

  • 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 empowers organizations to recycle their lamps by simplifying the process and using sheer bulk buying power to get the best possible price for lamp recycling. Participating in the program makes both environmental and economic sense, especially when the current reality is that only seven per cent of fluorescent lamps are recycled in Ontario.

Recycling Pathway & Circular Economy

With Take Back the Light, our approved processors must adhere to the highest standards in lightbulb recycling. We require 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 is separated and sent for reuse, and metallic mercury is also distilled and cleaned to be collected and kept in circulation.

Recycling to the Take Back the Light standard means supporting a circular economy. Instead of following the linear pathway of Take, Make and Waste, products considered “waste” in one market are used as resources for the next market. This breaks the linear cycle, and turns our consumption model into a circular one. Using your procurement to reinforce this mindset is something Take Back the Light strongly advocates for, as it benefits everyone in the end and maintains human and environmental health. 

Program Requirements For Mercury-Containing Lamps Recycling Processors

This document provides the minimum requirements that a mercury-containing lamp processor shall comply with in order to be approved to service Take Back the Light.

These criteria aim to ensure that all lamps generated by participants in the Take Back the Light are recovered and processed in a way that minimizes negative environmental impacts under strict health and safety procedures, and that the maximum amount of each bulb collected is recycled, (i.e. that mercury and its other components—glass, metal and phosphor—are recovered for use in new products).

Processors interested in servicing the Take Back the Light are expected to commission a third‐party auditor to verify and validate its claims of recovery and recycling performance and compliance with this document.

New Processing Facility Opens in the Greater Toronto Area

Program Milestones

30 Million
Lights safely recovered
7 Million
kilograms of glass recovered
kilograms of metal and phosphor powder recovered
litres of mercury recovered



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