Welcome, Guest

Remember me

Other Articles

California Law Requires Fluorescent Lamp Recycling

Email to a friend Print Article

California Integrated Waste Management Board

All fluorescent lamps and tubes are considered hazardous waste in California when they are discarded because they contain mercury. (Title 22, division 4.5, chapter 11, section 66261.50) This includes:

Fluorescent lamps and tubes: Fluorescent tubes, including low mercury tubes. Compact fluorescents, including low mercury lamps.

High Intensity Discharge (HID) Lamps: Metal halide lamps, such as floodlights for large indoor and outdoor areas and gymnasiums. Sodium lamps, such as those sometimes used as security lighting and outdoor floodlights. Mercury vapor lamps, such as those sometimes used for street lighting.

All fluorescent lamps and tubes must be recycled, or taken to a household hazardous waste disposal facility, a universal waste handler (e.g., storage facility or broker), or an authorized recycling facility. (Title 22, division 4.5, chapter 23, section 66273.8) (The law requiring that fluorescent lamps be recycled or taken to a household hazardous waste disposal facility, a universal waste handler, or an authorized recycling facility has been in effect since February 9, 2006.)

When mercury-containing lamps or tubes are placed in the trash and collected for disposal, the lamps or tubes are broken and mercury is released to the environment. Mercury vapors from broken lamps or tubes can be absorbed through the lungs into the bloodstream. People who are particularly close to the breakage are especially at risk. Mercury from broken lamps and tubes can also be washed by rain water into waterways.

According to a report entitled, Household Universal Waste Generation in California, August 2002, there were 15,555,556 fluorescent lamps sold in California in the year 2001. According to survey results published in the report, only 0.21% of these lamps were recycled.

How to Recycle or Safely Dispose Fluorescent Lamps and Tubes:

Households and Small Business with Only Small Numbers of Spent Lamp or Tubes at a Time

Take lamps and tubes to a household hazardous waste collection center or event. Find where to recycle or dispose fluorescent lamps and tubes at Where Can I Recycle My...?, or Earth 911, or call 800 CLEAN-UP (253-2687). Enter your zip code to find the nearest recycling center. Includes information for many types of recyclable material, including household hazardous waste. See the web site of your local governmental household hazardous waste agency for the latest information in your area.

Businesses

Businesses now manage mercury-containing lamps and tubes as universal wastes for recycling. The recent universal waste regulations eliminate the hazardous waste manifest requirements and increase allowable storage time to one year. Businesses can use prepaid mailing containers from lamp recyclers or contact a universal waste handler (e.g., storage facility, broker) or an authorized recycling facility. Contact the DTSC office near you. See the Web site of your local governmental household hazardous waste agency for the latest information in your area.