Green Resources Info Service and FAQs
Green Resources Info Service

Green Jean Ponzi is ready to answer your questions
The EarthWays Center's 'Green Jean' Ponzi is at your service with the answers to your sustainable-living questions.
What's "green" about it?
Where can I find it?
What's the most sustainable choice?

Whatever your question, the Garden's sustainable-living experts are at your service!

We can help you:

  • find green products and services
  • evaluate green claims
  • plan your green home or lifestyle project

Contact us today at greenresources@mobot.org or (314) 577-0246.


Green Resources FAQs

Where can I recycle the fluorescent tube lights from my home?

In St. Louis, locally-owned Metro Lighting will accept consumer fluorescent tubes for free if you buy new tubes, or for a small fee if you just want to recycle them. In other areas, check with Earth 911 about this service. Big-box stores that recycle compact fluorescent bulbs do NOT accept the tubular bulbs, due to handling issues.

FYI, by law individuals may dispose of fluorescent tubes in your landfill trash. Large-quantity generators of this waste stream – including the Missouri Botanical Garden - have to contract with a fluorescent bulb recycling service, but homeowners legally do not. When a tube is burned out, the mercury gas that was sealed in the tube to make the tube coating fluoresce is fused to the glass - which is why the bulb no longer produces light. So breaking a burned-out bulb into a dumpster is no longer an air quality issue.

You take an extra step of environmental protection when you recycle your household tubes. And the recycling technology that recovers formerly gaseous mercury from the shattered glass is amazing! When transporting tubular bulbs to a location for recycling, always transport them in a box – save a box for recycling when you buy new tubes – to avoid a broken glass hazard.

Learn more about fluorescent lighting efficiency and handling safety from the US Environmental Protection Agency, including details for a few states that prohibit any fluorescent bulb disposal in landfills.

Where can I recycle the fluorescent tube lights from my home?

In St. Louis, locally-owned Metro Lighting will accept consumer fluorescent tubes for free if you buy new tubes, or for a small fee if you just want to recycle them. In other areas, check with Earth 911 about this service. Big-box stores that recycle compact fluorescent bulbs do NOT accept the tubular bulbs, due to handling issues.

FYI, by law individuals may dispose of fluorescent tubes in your landfill trash. Large-quantity generators of this waste stream – including the Missouri Botanical Garden - have to contract with a fluorescent bulb recycling service, but homeowners legally do not. When a tube is burned out, the mercury gas that was sealed in the tube to make the tube coating fluoresce is fused to the glass - which is why the bulb no longer produces light. So breaking a burned-out bulb into a dumpster is no longer an air quality issue.

You take an extra step of environmental protection when you recycle your household tubes. And the recycling technology that recovers formerly gaseous mercury from the shattered glass is amazing! When transporting tubular bulbs to a location for recycling, always transport them in a box – save a box for recycling when you buy new tubes – to avoid a broken glass hazard.

Learn more about fluorescent lighting efficiency and handling safety from the US Environmental Protection Agency, including details for a few states that prohibit any fluorescent bulb disposal in landfills.

Answers provided by:

Jean Ponzi
Green Resources Manager, EarthWays Center of the Missouri Botanical Garden
  Marcus G. Rivas
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Learn more from Marcus "Dr. Detox" Rivas on how to "Detox Your Domicile"
Green To Go: Public Talks

EarthWays Center offers inspiring, interactive one-hour adult-audience virtual presentations. 

Schedule by calling (314) 577-0246 or email greenresources@mobot.org

2020 Virtual Topics

  • The Power of Plants: Natives!
  • Energy in Buildings: Clean, Green, Economical
  • Recycle Responsibly
  • The Dirt on Compost
  • Invasive? Native? Exotic: an Eco-Logical View of Plants
  • Smarter—Greener—Cleaner
  • Monarchs and Mosquitoes
  • Good Green News: Food!
  • Earth's Climate: Facts, Myths, Opportunities
  • Green Means Business!
  • Where is "Away"?
  • Being a Green-savvy Consumer

Download additional information and topic descriptions