Recycle Ballasts for Cash: Definitive Scrapping Guide


This Article was Reviewed by The Chief Editor, Godfrey

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Ballasts are semi-hazardous materials that end up in the trash or landfill when they could be recycled and sent back into circulation. You may ask, “Why don’t I just buy new ones?” This is a great question, however, you can do with a little more cash when you decide to recycle ballasts for cash.

What’s a Ballast?

According to the Lighting Research Center, ballast is a tool used to regulate the amount of current in a circuit. It’s an electrical device that controls and regulates the flow of electricity to a lamp, fluorescent light, or other electrical devices. The ballast is a device that insulates the lamps internally and converts a direct current into an alternating current for use inside the fixture.

This is a flourescent light ballast that can be recycled for cash.

Types of Ballasts

A. Magnetic Ballasts

This is the old-school ballast that is often very difficult to access and repair. Magnetic ballasts are susceptible to voltage spikes or drops and will start to draw power even if they have not been turned on at all.

This is an example of a  magnetic ballast for flourescent.

B. Electronic Ballast

These ballasts can be found in many new lamps and fixtures as well as older ones. These ballasts are typically used in emergency lights, emergency exit signs, and alarm systems. Electronic ballasts do not contain any significant amount of hazardous materials inside the unit itself.

This is an electronic ballast that can also be recycled for cash.

Functions of Ballasts

1. Regulates Current to the Lamp

Lamps have no regulator so it’s the ballasts that regulate the amount of light in the fluorescent. The current used by the lamp must be regulated and stabilized to prevent damage to the lamp itself.

This is why it has become standard to use ballasts in fluorescent lamps, LEDs, and fluorescent fixtures. Without the ballast in the lamps, the lamps will overheat and eventually burn out. 

2. Provides Sufficient Voltage to Lamps

Failure to provide the voltage required for a given lamp can cause the lamp to go out, explode, or make sparks. This is why ballasts are generally used in lamps and fluorescent fixtures.

 3. Stabilizes Current

Ballasts are used to ensure a constant flow of power to the lamp. This is why ballasts are generally used in lamps and fluorescent fixtures. Ballasts help stabilize the current within the lamp so that it can maintain its light level over a period of time even when the voltage or frequency changes, or when surges occur.

Can Ballast Be Recycled for cash?

This picture is just an illustration that ballasts can be recycled for cash.

Yes, you can recycle ballast for cash. It is important to be careful with yourself and your surroundings if you decide to recycle ballasts for cash. If you are told by the organization that pays for the recycling of your old light fixture, to send a copy of your receipt along with any parts from the ballast.

If you do not have this information at hand, take pictures of the bulb or fixture and keep them in case it is identified as hazardous by the company that collects and recycles it for you.

The Safety You Should Be Aware of

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) containing ballast become a concern if they are leaking. It will be disposed of as hazardous waste. Ballast manufactured through 1979 contains this PCB.

PCB causes a lot of health challenges like liver injury, skin disorders, reproductive problems, etc. PCBs can also mimic natural hormones and disrupt the endocrine system.

They pose health hazards to occupants and are costly to clean up that’s why the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is of the opinion that we should remove PCB from our surroundings to prevent possible inhalation or dermal exposure.

So don’t sell any ballast made before 1980, rather throw it away if it’s not leaking. But in the case of any leakage, then incinerate it. 

What Are The Signs That A Ballast is Bad?

This picture shows the signs that a ballast is bad.

i. Light Flickering

The light will flicker or dim, sometimes even if lamps are turned off. The ballast may give off electric smoke that can be easily seen as it comes from the ballast itself. You will also smell something burning like overheated insulation.

ii. Buzzing Noise

If the ballast makes a strange humming noise, creaks, or cracks this should be a reason to replace the old fixture immediately.

iii. Low Light Output

This is one of the most frustrating signs. The ballast will not give off enough light. The best way to test this is to plug in a new lamp and see if it actually lights up or not. This low light output can also be caused by other factors.

If you hear crackling when the lamp is turned on, or if the light flickers and dims, this may be a cause for the ballast replacement. 

iv. Inability to Keep the Light Level

The lamp generally does not maintain the same level of brightness over time because the voltage, frequency, or current is changing or dropping. Some ballasts can have built-in sensors that measure the quality of power being supplied and adjust themselves accordingly.

v. Delayed Lighting after Being Switched on

If the lamp is taking too long to come on, if it takes too long for the light to appear, or if there are other signs of ballast failure, it’s time to replace the ballast.

Do Ballasts Have Scrap Value? 

Yes, the non-leaking ballasts. You can recycle these ballasts for cash. They do have some scrap value. Ballasts are between other electronic devices, so they are in high demand for recycling. They are worth a couple of dollars.

What Can I Do with My Old Ballast? 

Ballasts in fluorescent light fixtures, along with the entire fixture, can be recycled. Even if the fixture is not broken, ballasts still have value. Most of the time, companies that collect used electronics will accept old ballasts to be recycled.

How Much Do Ballasts Cost?

Ballast values vary depending on what kind of ballast they are. There are a few different types of ballasts that will determine the prices like the magnetic ballast. These ballasts cost between $13 to $20 for the average ballast.

Who Buys Ballasts?

If you happen to have a used ballast that is no longer needed but is still in good working order, selling it is a good opportunity to make some quick cash.

1. Online Classified Ad

You can sell your ballasts here. All you have to do is to clean it up, remove any dust particles on it then take a picture of your ballast. Make the picture appealing to the eye. Finally, post a picture of your ballast along with a description of the brand and model.

2. Contact Your Local Newspaper

When you contact your local newspaper, place your ad on their website with your email address and phone number then wait to be contacted by prospective buyers.

3. Sell to an Electrical Equipment Recycling Center

This is another way to sell your ballasts. When you sell to the recycling companies, they will recycle it thereby making our environment safer while you smile home with your money.

4. Auction Website

This is another great way to sell your ballast. Create an account on the website then post the picture of your ballast with its description. Also, include your contact information just in case anyone has an interest to buy.


To recycle ballasts for cash will put more money in your pocket that can be used for other things. Don’t neglect or abandon them. The money gotten from them can be used for other things. And besides, it’s always best to recycle because that is one way to sustain our environment.


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About the Chief Editor

Godfrey Ogbo, the Chief Editor and CEO of AtlanticRide, merges his environmental management expertise with extensive business experience, including in real estate. With a master's degree and a knack for engaging writing, he adeptly covers complex growth and business topics. His analytical approach and business insights enrich the blog, making it a go-to source for readers seeking thoughtful and informed content.

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