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| be Waste Wise | September 29, 2023

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Are Light Emitting Diodes (LED) e-waste?

Are Light Emitting Diodes (LED) e-waste?

Prof. Brajesh Dubey, from Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, tells us about LED (light emitting diodes) and what happens when they become waste.


Recently, we received a query from the community enquiring about LED (light emitting diodes), their components & how they feature in the waste stream. Prof Brajesh Dubey responded to these questions. So, here is a quick read on LED.

Do LED have lead in them?
Yes, LED have been reported to have lead and arsenic in them.

Do LED come under e-waste? they come under e-waste?
Yes, they will come under e-waste once they are disposed off at the end of life. These products are also WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) & so will become e-waste after their usage ends. 


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Does the amount of lead (Pb) differ according to manufacturer?
Yes, it varies according to manufacturers & producers. Some of these have lead content below detection limit. There are a few varieties of LED (from the ones sold in California) that showed lead. It will be helpful to do a similar study in India.

Should the amount of lead in these equipment be specified/ marked on device?
Well, this particularly varies according toe the regulation in the country. If it is a standard procedure to check for lead in all products, then it must be extended to LED too.

What is the cost of recycling these devices?
Currently, we are not sure. We need to take up research to understand this. As on date, there are not many LED showing up in the disposal stream. So, it will take a few years to really understand the cost of recycling LED bulbs.

Is the light from these bulbs harmful for eyes?
I have not come across any study suggesting that. 

Do you have any questions about waste? Write to us at [email protected], or drop a comment in the comments section.



    I am interested in studying effect of Light Sources in general and LEDs in particular after they stop working.LEDs contain nano amounts of Gallium,Arsenic,Phoshides but their sheer numbers can lead to a severe problem of landfill contamination.Can u share if your experience on the issue.

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