The fluorescent lamp is made with a glass tube coated with a phosphorus compound (the white dust) on the inside, and filled with a small quantity of mercury. When discarding a fluorescent tube, the main concern is the mercury, which is an important pollutant. One way to avoid releasing mercury into the environment is to combine it with sulfur to form mercury sulfur, which is safer. One advantage of sulfur is that is cheap. The reaction is shown with the equation:
Hgmercury + Ssulfur → HgSmercury sulfur
The easiest way to combine sulfur and mercury is to cover a group of fluorescent tubes with dust sulfur and break them; when the glass is put into a bag to continue with the reaction, the mercury will combine with sulfur without any other action. The glass, and the aluminum borders, can be recycled or put in a box or bag and sent to an appropriate place. A quantity of 25 kg of dust sulfur is enough for 1000 tubes.
A good idea is to make a box when the tubes can be put, and covered with sulfur, then break them. To perform this task, it is important to use protection equipment like protection eyeglasses, gloves, dust mask, etc., and do it in a ventilated place.
A layer of tubes is put into the box, and covered with sulfur totally, and other layer of tubes and sulfur until the box is filled before breaking the tubes.