Minneapolis Health Department

Public Service Center
250 S. 4th. Street, Room 510
Minneapolis, MN 55415
health@minneapolismn.gov
(612) 673-2301

Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs and Lamp Ordinance

What retailers selling fluorescent lamps in Minneapolis must display

Products requiring signs under this ordinance
More information about mercury in fluorescent lamps

Posting requirements for retailers falling under notification ordinance and downloadable signs

Other use outside of Minneapolis ordinance requirements

Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) are an excellent alternative to standard light bulbs because they use less electricity and last longer, saving energy and money. However, fluorescent lamps, including energy saving compact fluorescents, contain a small amount of mercury.

Mercury is a toxic substance that can cause kidney, liver and brain damage. The developing minds of infants and children are most susceptible to damage from mercury exposure. The mercury in CFLs does not present a health risk when the bulbs are intact but they must be disposed of properly. When improperly disposed of, lamps often break and release mercury into the air. On May 12, 2006, in order to protect our children, our lakes and to limit the release of mercury into the environment, the Minneapolis City Council amended Title 3 of the Minneapolis Code of Ordinances relating to Air Pollution and Environmental Protection adding Chapter (later referred to as this ordinance)

57.30. Retail notice requirements. Any person within the city that offers for sale at retail any fluorescent bulbs or other bulbs or lamps containing mercury shall post readily visible signage stating that the bulbs or lamps contain mercury, that they may not be placed in the waste stream and which references available lamp and bulb recycling programs offered by Hennepin County or other public or private entities. Such signage shall be developed, approved and annually updated by the deputy director of environmental management and safety and shall be required to be posted on or before July 1, 2007 by any qualifying retail establishment.

Products requiring signs under this ordinance

The following are examples of lamps containing mercury:

  • Fluorescent and Compact Fluorescent bulbs or lamps
  • Bug zappers, tanning lamps, black lights and grow lamps and non-red neon lights
  • Cold cathode lamps found in liquid crystal displays (LCDs) such as in computer screens, flat screen TVs, cameras, camcorders, cash registers, digital projectors, copies and fax machines
  • High intensity discharge lamps such as metal halide, mercury vapor and high pressure sodium lamps.

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More information about mercury in fluorescent lamps

Mercury is an essential component of fluorescent lamps. Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) contain a very small amount of mercury. On average, CFLs contain 5 milligrams of mercury, about the amount that would cover the tip of a ball point pen, as compared to 500 milligrams in a mercury thermometer. 1 Learn moreā€¦

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Posting requirements for retailers falling under notification ordinance and downloadable signs

Downloadable CFL signs/posters (as required by Minneapolis ordinance)

Retailers must post one or more of the approved signs available for download below. Signs must be posted at point of sale, with the product (requiring signs per ordinance). The signs are available in different formats to provide flexibility to the retailer. The following guidelines apply to the signs:

You may:

1. Use black and white or color versions of the signs

2. Choose from any of the available formats.

3. Display signs in English and additional languages (coming soon) to better serve your clients.

4. Change colors of the signs to other contrasting colors to meet corporate or store design requirements. Signs must be legible.

5. Use files to create additional graphic materials that are consistent with the intent of the ordinance. For example, retailers may use these graphics to promote in-store lamp recycling programs.

You may not:

1. Decrease the size of the existing files. You may increase the size if desired

2. Change the wording in any way.

3. Alter the signs in any way that counters the expressed purpose of the ordinance.

4. Change the layout of the signs.

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Other use outside of Minneapolis ordinance requirements

These graphics may be used by agencies or organizations for non-profit outreach and educational activities. These graphics may not be sold or used for monetary gain. Graphics and wording may be changed or adapted as long as they do not contradict the intent of promoting proper disposal of fluorescent lamps. If adapted for use other than fulfilling the requirement of the ordinance, credit must be given to the City of Minneapolis and Hennepin County.

Download advertising flyer (pdf)

(For informational/promotional use only. Not for use for meeting Ordinance requirements)

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1 Frequently Asked Questions: Information on Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs) and Mercury (pdf)

Last updated Sep 27, 2011