How to Repurpose Your Old CFL Lightbulbs
Compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) have served us well for many years. But now, as LED lighting becomes more popular, you may be wondering what to do with your old CFL bulbs. There are several creative ways to repurpose CFLs and give them new life!
Assess the Condition of Your Old CFL Bulbs
Before repurposing your CFL bulbs, inspect them carefully to make sure they are still in good working condition. Here are a few things I check:
Make sure the glass is not cracked or broken. Cracked bulbs can no longer contain the gases needed for functionality.
Check that the plastic base is intact. The base needs to fully encase the electrical contacts.
Look to see if the filament is still intact. You should see a small glass tube inside coiled into a spiral shape.
Test to see if it still lights up. Plug it into a socket to verify it powers on.
If your CFL bulbs pass these tests, they should be fine for repurposing. Any bulbs that are damaged or fail to light up should be recycled properly. CFLs contain a small amount of mercury and should not be thrown in the trash.
Creative Ways to Repurpose Working CFL Bulbs
Here are some innovative ways to breathe new life into old CFLs:
1. Use as a Handheld Spotlight
With some simple modifications, a CFL bulb can become a portable spotlight.
Obtain a handheld flashlight or headlamp.
Remove the existing incandescent bulb.
Insert your CFL bulb and secure it in place.
Now you have a handy spotlight with the power-efficiency of a CFL! The compact spiral shape focuses the light into a tight beam. I’ve used this for outdoor activities like camping or working in the garage.
2. Make Artistic Night Lights
Upcycling CFLs into cute night lights is an easy DIY project.
Choose a glass container like a mason jar or vase.
Add some decorations like paint, ribbons, or sequins to personalize it.
Place the CFL bulb inside and secure the base with hot glue.
Run the cord through the back or bottom and plug it in.
The soft glow of a CFL is perfect for a unique night light to brighten up a room. You can make several in different sizes and styles.
3. Use as Plant Grow Lights
Did you know CFLs work very well as grow lights for plants?
Position the bulbs above your indoor plants, about 2-3 inches away.
Make sure the light covers the entire area you want to stimulate growth.
Run the CFLs for 12-16 hours per day.
The full spectrum light of CFLs provides ideal light conditions to nurture healthy plant growth. This allows you to grow plants year round, even in basements or rooms without much natural sunlight.
So with a little creativity, you can find new uses for CFL bulbs and reduce waste. Repurposing prolongs their usefulness and keeps them out of landfills. What unique ways will you reuse your old CFLs?