Shoppers can bring old incandescent or compact fluorescent light bulbs to participating Safeway stores around the county every Monday through Aug. 20 in return for free LED light bulbs, the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection and Safeway announced Monday.

The “Lighten Your Load” program is a partnership between the DEP and Safeway to prevent the spread of substances such as mercury, which is typically used in fluorescent light bulbs, from entering the waste stream. The exchange is also aimed at mitigating costs for users as LED bulbs have a longer life span than incandescent bulbs, according to the press release.

“We’re giving away replacement LEDs, because it’s a small change that makes a big impact for residents’ utility bills and the environment,” acting DEP Director Patty Bubar said in the release. “About 80 percent of households still use incandescent bulbs, and the summer months also have some of the highest electricity bills. It’s the perfect time to make the switch.”

Safeway stores in Rockville, Wheaton, Germantown, Damascus and Olney are participating in the exchange. Customers can bring in old light bulbs from 4 to 6 p.m. on the day that a DEP staff member is scheduled to be at the store. Customers can bring in an unlimited number of bulbs to exchange, but a maximum of three free LED bulbs will be distributed to each family. The LEDs produce a white light that is similar to a 60-watt incandescent bulb.

A DEP representative is scheduled to be at the following stores on these dates:

The partnership comes from a joint desire by the DEP and Safeway to conserve energy and reduce costs for users around the county, said Darcie Renn, Safeway’s director of sustainability.

“We take our commitment to energy efficiency and reducing waste seriously,” Renn said in the release. “By partnering with Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection, our customers have the opportunity to save energy and lower their utility bills while also reducing waste that goes to the landfill.”

In addition to the LED light bulbs given to each participant, a reusable shopping bag will also be distributed to each customer.

The Lighten Your Load event is part of the regular programming hosted by the DEP to promote energy conservation and reduce costs for residents, the release said. Other events throughout the year include pesticide container recycling drop-offs and “Energy Express” workshops, which teach elementary students energy conservation strategies.