Q Where can I dispose of fluorescent light bulbs?

A It has been a chore trying to find a place to dispose of compact fluorescent lights. But it's getting easier as more places are accepting them, sometimes free of charge. And collection boxes may soon be in every post office, if the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has its way. Meanwhile, here are some suggestions for where to dispose of fluorescent bulbs:

• Many county household hazardous-waste collection sites will take them. Contact your county for disposal information.

• Many hardware stores and fluorescent bulb retailers now accept them. However, be sure to ask about fees and hours.

• Home Depot stores nationwide.

• Menards stores in several locations.

• Ikea takes fluorescent lights, no charge.

• Mail-back programs such as Think Green From Home. Containers can be ordered at www.thinkgreenfromhome .com. The program includes special containers for safe storage in your home and prepaid postage for easy return from your mailbox.

• Some electric utilities offer discount coupons for fluorescent bulb recycling.

• Your city or township may also collect fluorescent bulbs on its recycling dropoff days.

Cleaning sticky tools

Q I have several pair of garden shears that have become sticky with what I think is a plant residue near the end of the blades. Can you please tell me how I can clean these shears?

A It's important to keep pruning tools such as shears, loppers and saws clean and in good working order.

Dirty tools can spread disease from plant to plant. Clean these tools after each use by rinsing them with water and drying with a clean cloth. Remove sticky plant residues with mineral spirits, rubbing alcohol or kerosene. At the end of the season, apply a light film of oil to bare metal and joints, and sandpaper any splinters or cracks in wooden handles.

Send your questions to Fixit in care of the Star Tribune, 425 Portland Av. S., Minneapolis, MN 55488, or call 612-673-7032, or e-mail fixit@startribune.com. Past columns are available at www.startribune.com/fixit. Sorry, Fixit cannot supply individual replies.