ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball today announced the expansion of the County’s Office of Community Sustainability’s (OCS) free light-emitting diode (LED) light bulb exchange program to all Howard County Library System (HCLS) branches. Offered in partnership with HCLS, Howard County residents can visit any local HCLS branch to exchange used incandescent and compact fluorescent (CFL) light bulbs for new, energy efficient LED bulbs.

This expanded partnership between OCS and HCLS offers our residents the opportunity to conveniently and properly dispose of their old light bulbs in exchange for cost-saving, energy efficient LEDs. Through this program, we are encouraging residents to join us in our efforts to achieve the goals outlined in our ‘Howard County Climate Forward: Climate Action and Resiliency Plan’ and showcasing that even a step as small as changing out a light bulb, when collectively done, can help create a more sustainable future for all.

Calvin Ball
Howard County Executive

While supplies last, Howard County residents can visit the circulation desk at any HCLS branch to exchange their used CFL or incandescent light bulbs for up to four free, new LED bulbs (an A19 bulb shape). All types of bulb shapes will be accepted for exchange, except for tube lights. 

The County’s LED light bulb exchange program began as a 2022 Howard County GreenFest initiative, which distributed more than 500 LEDs. OCS expanded the program from there, hosting exchange events throughout the county, including assisting Howard County Public School System students participating in the Youth Climate Institute with creating several of their own light bulb exchange events.

In February 2023, OCS partnered with HCLS to host its first LED light bulb exchange program offering at HCLS’s East Columbia and Elkridge branches. Combined, these two locations gave away more than 2,500 LED light bulbs and collected nearly 2,000 inefficient bulbs. 

“This LED light bulb exchange illuminates the role our branches play as a resource for Howard County residents,” said HCLS President and CEO Tonya Aikens. “Complementing existing ‘green’ HCLS programs such as our LEED buildings, Elkridge DIY Education Center and the Miller Branch Enchanted Garden, the LED light bulb exchange is a service we are happy to provide with OCS support in pursuit of a more sustainable, climate-smart community.”

LED light bulbs have about a 10-year lifespan and are up to 80 percent more efficient than conventional light bulbs, so this is an easy way for residents to save energy and save money.

Tim Lattimer
Administrator, Office of Community Sustainability

In addition to the energy and cost savings benefits of LEDs, this program also provides residents with a safe way to properly dispose of CFLs. As CFLs contain mercury and are considered Household Hazardous Waste (HHW), they cannot be disposed of in household trash. Along with dropping off CFLs at library branches through this program, Howard County residents can also dispose of them at the County’s Alpha Ridge Landfill during its HHW Saturdays, which run from the first Saturday in April to the last Saturday in November. 

Media Contacts
Safa Hira, Director of Communications
Jackie Cooper, Community Outreach Specialist

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