OCS and Libraries Partner for LED Light Bulb Exchange

March 2023

In February of 2023, the Office of Community Sustainability (OCS) launched a free ongoing LED exchange program at the East Columbia and Elkridge Libraries.

Residents in the County can visit either library during business hours to exchange their used incandescent and CFL light bulbs for new LED light bulbs. Citizens should visit the circulation desk, provide them with used light bulbs, and receive up to four LED light bulbs in exchange, while supplies last.

In addition to the energy savings benefits of LEDs, this program provides a safe means of disposal for CFL light bulbs. Due to the CFL bulbs containing mercury, they cannot be disposed of with household trash. If a CFL bulb breaks, it is recommended to wear gloves, seal the bulb in a heavy-duty plastic bag, and clean the surrounding area. The Alpha Ridge Landfill also accepts CFL bulbs on Saturdays from April-November, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

All types of bulb shapes, except for tube lights, are accepted at the two libraries. The only shape of LED light bulb provided is A19.

The LED light bulb exchange program began as a 2022 GreenFest initiative. Due to the success of the event, which distributed over 500 LEDs, OCS planned additional exchanges at various locations in the County. These included local businesses, community events, and County facilities. As of March 2023, the LED exchange program has collected 1,079 bulbs and distributed 1,931 LEDs.

To accommodate the time constraints and flexibility of Howard County residents, the more permanent LED exchange was developed through a partnership between OCS and Howard County Libraries (HCL). The now continuous program allows a larger number of residents to utilize the service.

Graphic showing the different types of light bulbs including LEDs, CFLs, and incandescent bulbsLED light bulbs are brighter, more energy efficient, and safer than other types of light bulbs  LEDs reduce costs because they use less energy and last over twice as long as incandescent and CFL bulbs.

If you have any questions about the LED exchange program, please contact the Office of Community Sustainability (OCS) at 410-313-0700 or ocs@howardcountymd.gov.