Tuesday, October 9, 2012

5 Ways to Recycle Light Bulbs

Not all light bulbs are created the same, and as such they can’t all be disposed of in the same way. For instance, incandescent light bulbs can be disposed of in the trash, however fluorescent bulbs can’t because they contain mercury and are considered hazardous waste. But just because something can be thrown away doesn’t mean that it should be. The more things that can be recycled, the fewer things go into the landfill. Light bulbs come in many shapes and sizes, and can make great conversation pieces when they’re recycled into different, interesting craft pieces. Check out these ideas on how you might recycle your next burned out bulb.

  1. Holiday tree ornaments- Collect a bunch of small light bulbs, like those from a string of outdoor lights, that have burned out. Tape around the metal base of each of the light bulbs and spray paint the bulbs in any color that works for the color scheme of your tree. Push the bulbs into a scrap piece of Styrofoam to avoid drips caused by laying down the wet light bulb. Use a couple of light coats of paint to avoid runny drips. When the bulbs have dried, remove the tape, wrap some light gauge wire around the base, and hang them in the tree.
  2. Hanging vase- You’ll want to put on gloves and safety goggles for this project. Start by prying off the bottom metal part of your burned out light bulb using a pair of needle nose pliers. Next, break off the black glass part of the light bulb. Work over a large cardboard box just in case the bulb breaks. Use the pliers to pull up on the black glass until it breaks away. Breaking off the black glass is the hardest part of the project. Wedge a flat head screw driver into the bottom of the bulb to release the inner fill tube. You may hear a whoosh of argon gas escaping when you break the seal. Remove the wires from inside the bulb. Now you are ready to wrap the metal part of the bulb with wire to create a loop to hang your vase. Fill it with water and flowers and your project is complete.
  3. Earrings- Choose very small light bulbs for this project, such as bulbs out of a string of indoor lights. Tape around the plastic base of two bulbs. Push the bulbs into some scrap Styrofoam or some old play dough (the play dough should be thrown away after using). Spray the bulbs with a couple of light coats of paint or paint them with a brush using acrylic paint. Wrap some lightweight earring wire around the end of the bulb and coat it with a little hot glue to get it to adhere. Attach a jump ring (a small metal ring for jewelry) to the wires using a small pair of needle nose pliers. You can find jump rings and the earring wires at a craft store in the jewelry section. Attach the earring wires by opening up the jump ring and fastening the ring from the earring wire, then close the jump ring. Repeat on the second earring and you are ready to wear your new earrings.
  4. Terrarium- Remove the inner workings of the light bulb by breaking off the metal piece and the black glass on the bottom of the light bulb. Pry the filament out using a flat head screw driver. Attach silicon bumpers to the bottom of the bulb to prevent it from rolling away. Using a funnel, put 2 tablespoons of sand into the empty bulb. Cut and insert a small piece of preserved sheet moss that can be purchased at a garden center or floral outlet. Insert an air plant also known as tillandsia. Air plants do not require soil and can get the nutrients they need from the air. Keep your terrarium in partial light and mist it with water every week or so. Empty any standing water.
  5. Sculpture- Hot glue the bottoms of 4 light bulbs of equal size together to form a cross. Next add additional bulbs to the sculpture. Build up the sculpture evenly so that it will stand up. Use whatever bulbs you have lying around and be creative.

Light bulbs are an important part of our everyday life, but for the most part they go unnoticed. By recycling a burned out light bulb you are not only adding a unique craft to your home, but you are also keeping the light bulbs out of the landfill. Use your imagination and you’ll be surprised of the ways you dream up to recycle your burned out bulbs.

Taken From House Sitting Jobs

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