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Old December 23rd, 2007, 02:41 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Vacuum Tube disposal/recycling?

I've got some tubes to get rid of - but not sure the proper way to dispose of, or recycle them. I'm sure there must be some heavy metals or toxic elements to these things - so, any suggestions on how I might safely dispose of them would be appreciated.

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Old December 23rd, 2007, 03:06 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Good question, I never considered that before. I always just gave old tubes to amp techs without ever thinking about what they do with them.

Try this place.
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Old December 23rd, 2007, 04:35 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Vacume tubes contain mercury and should be taken to your local disposal station for safe elimination.
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Old December 23rd, 2007, 06:51 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Larry Rodgers View Post
Vacume tubes contain mercury and should be taken to your local disposal station for safe elimination.
Some indeed do contain mercury, like type 83 and 866 rectifiers. However, you won't find 866s in a guitar map, and I think only a very few rare examples used the 83.

Mercury is a metal and is liquid at room temo, In a tube, with the heat, it would quickly evaporate into a gas and ionize the innards, causing shorts, the tube would not turn off and all sorts of mayhem. Yes, some tubes do use it and were designed for it, but I think you may be hard pressed to find any in your common 12AX7 or 6L6.

With that said, yes there are some strange things in a tube, in very small quantities. I always just tossed dead ones in the trash, but I guess the environmental thing to do would be to take them somewhere that handles recycling or e-waste.
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