- 10 Questions to Ask Before A Lighting Upgrade
- 3 Reasons to Recycle Spent Lamps
- 5 Facts FMs Should Know About New Lighting Regulations
- 5 ROI-Generating Winter Facility Improvements
- A Case for Fluorescent Lamp Recycling
- A New Look at Lamp Disposal
- A new Pennsylvania law, in effect as of Jan. 24, 2013, bans e-waste from landfills.
- A Snapshot of Small Facility Lamp Recycling
- Are Lighting Retrofits Worth the Money?
- Break a Bulb? EPA Safety Tips Can Keep You and Your Workplace Safe
- Bulb Recycling, Step by Step
- California Law Requires Fluorescent Lamp Recycling
- CFL Bulb Recycling Options Abound
- Cleaning Your Fluorescent Lights
- Colorado Enacts New E-Waste Law
- Congress Delays Incandescent Light Bulb Ban
- Daylighting: Obstacle or Opportunity?
- EPA 2010 Enforcement and Compliance Results
- EPA Reports Record Fine Levels for 2010
- EPA Updates CFL Cleanup and PCB Exposure Guidance
- Fluorescent and HID Lamp Troubleshooting Guide
- Fluorescent Lamp and Controls Myths
- Fluorescent Lamp Recycling: The "Green" Litmus Test
- Fluorescent Lighting Design Tips
- Fluorescent Magnetic T12 Ballast: RIP
- Fluorescent Magnetic T12 Ballast: RIP
- Getting Started On Upgrades To Older Lighting Systems
- Good Riddance to Old Fluorescent Lamps
- Hazmat Management: A Nine-Step Program
- Illinois Expands E-Waste Recycling Law
- Innovative Fluorescent Bulb Recycling Plan "Brewing" at Teavana
- Introducing VaporShield®
- Lamp Recycling Made Easy - Universal Waste Rule Compliance
- Lamp Recycling Now Required in Washington
- Lamp Recycling: The Easy Way to Go Green
- LampRecycling.com Articles
- Lighting 101: Key Principles
- Lighting 101: Key Principles
- Lighting Controls: Luxury or Necessity?
- Lighting Upgrade: Energy and Financial Savings
- Macy's Settles with EPA for Lamp Violations
- Making a building go green doesn't have to mean making big structural changes. Here are 5 ways to do it simply.
- Managing Hazardous Materials in E-Waste
- Marriott Hotels Recycle Lamps, Universal Waste With EasyPak
- Massachusetts Fluorescent Lamp Recycling Facts
- Meet Air Cycle at A&WMA Conference in June
- Minimizing Lamp and Ballast Recycling Costs
- New 2010 E-Waste Recycling Laws
- New E-Waste Policy For Federal Government
- New Fluorescent Lamp Ballast Standards
- New NY Rechargeable Battery Recycling Law
- New State E-Waste Regulations
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- New Study Shows Mercury in Fish Widespread
- New York Law to Require E-Waste Recycling
- Newsweek has ranked CBRE Group, Inc. the greenest real estate company in its 2011 Green Rankings. The list measures the environmental performance of the 500 largest U.S.-based publicly traded companies.
- Operating Lamps in Winter Conditions
- Planning for Lighting Controls
- Prevent 17 Common Fluorescent Lighting Mistakes
- Proper Lamp Disposal Necessary to Avoid Fines
- Reasons to Consider Recycling Spent Fluorescent Lamps
- Recycling Bulbs and Sustainability for Facility Managers
- Recycling Fluorescent Lamps: It Can Be Affordable and Easy
- Recycling Roundtable: Three FMs Weigh In
- Strategies to Plan for T12 Lamp Phase-Out
- Successful Recycling: A Three-Step Approach
- Successful Recycling: Achieving Sustainability Goals
- Sustainability: The Great Differentiator
- T12 Lamp Phase-Out: Managing the Change
- The Hidden Benefits of Lamp Recycling
- The Hidden Financial Benefits of Fluorescent Lamp Upgrading
- The Other Environmental Contaminant
- The Road to Fluorescent Lamp Recycling: A 10-Step Guide
- U.S. Launches National Strategy for Electronics Stewardship
- Using Metrics to Optimize Light Quality and Efficiency
- What Are the Best Fluorescent Bulb Disposal Options?
- What Not To Do With Fluorescent Lamps
- What to Do With All Those Old PCs
- When To Turn Off Your Fluorescent Lights
- Why Bulb Recycling Works
- Why Fluorescent Lamp Recycling Still Matters
A New Look at Lamp Disposal
Guidelines for the proper disposal of mercury-containing lamps are changing across the United States. For example, as of Feb. 8, the state of California does not allow the disposal of everyday materials - such as fluorescent lamps - in trash headed for landfills. As more is learned about the dangers of mercury contamination in the country's groundwater, rivers, streams, and air, regulators and enforcers all over the country are tightening controls on fluorescent lamp, battery, and electronic equipment disposal.
“We have definitely seen an increase in requests for service, and for information in general, about recycling spent fluorescent lamps,” said Scott Beierwaltes, president of Air Cycle Corporation. “We believe the increase has been in response to the regulatory changes in California.”
And the changes aren’t just happening in California, although the state is doing a better job than most of educating the public. “New York recently tightened its position on disposal of mercury-containing lamps and equipment,” said Beierwaltes, “and Illinois is under scrutiny because the regulations there are tighter than in many other states.”
In Illinois, he explained, all nonresidential generators of spent lamps are regulated. “Historically, lamps have not been recycled at a high rate, especially in the Chicago metro area,” said Beierwaltes, “but now, with growing scrutiny from the Illinois EPA [Environmental Protection Agency], they will be.” He also sees the Virginia/Maryland/D.C. area as being targeted by regulators “due to a combination of heightened awareness [with respect to the Chesapeake Bay pollution] and EPA involvement,” he noted.
The EPA has several programs organized to get corporate entities onto the conservation and recycling bandwagon (see below). This trend in stricter guidelines and stronger enforcement not only opens the door of opportunity to distributors, but it will also require compliance within the industry.
“The time to have a responsible recycling program in place isn’t after the EPA has knocked on your door,” pointed out Beierwaltes. “The time is right now to ensure that your building is in compliance, so that when inspectors come, you’ll have nothing to hide.”
Not surprisingly, a lot of building owners, maintenance contractors, and small business owners are asking: “If I can’t throw this spent lamp in the dumpster, what do I do with it?” Some distributors are asking the same thing: “What can I do with dud or broken lamps if I can no longer pitch them into the trash?”
“We’re beginning to see a lot of building managers and owners that up until now didn’t know about these regulations at all,” said Paul Abernathy, executive director of the Association of Lighting and Mercury Recyclers (ALMR; www.almr.org). “Now they’ve suddenly got to do something about their spent lamps. Who are they going to call?”
This where electrical distributors have an opportunity.
“Distributors can, at the least, be a conduit for information about the steps that must be taken to properly dispose of those lamps,” said Abernathy. “It can be a profit opportunity for them as well—not only can they educate their customers, but they can also add value by becoming a drop-off point for spent lamps. And yes, they can charge for that service. Their contractor clients can do the same, partnering with distributors as well as recycling companies to help their clientele come into compliance with the stricter regulations.”
“Right now, distributors are capitalizing on the need for good, energy-efficient lighting by selling these lamps,” said Beierwaltes. “But they’re leaving money on the table by not also offering their customers a solution to their need for safe disposal.
“This is a new problem that many of their customers aren’t familiar with,” he continued. “Distributors can educate, inform, and solve this problem, differentiating themselves from their competition. Distributors need to position themselves as offering a full life cycle program for these universal wastes.”
And help is available. “Consult, protect, conserve” is the motto of Esquire Environmental Services in Virginia. The company is one of many that can help distributors help themselves—and their customers—custom fit a recycling and handling program appropriate to most any facility.
Esquire has partnered with the EPA in many programs offering incentives, recognition, and education for corporate entities to participate in outreach programs, recycling service value-adds, and progressive approaches to mercury abatement programs.
“Electrical products distributors who don’t offer this kind of service to their clients are missing an opportunity to be paid twice: once for the energy-efficient fluorescent lamps themselves, and once to take the spent lamps back for proper recycling and proof of compliance with the guidelines,” said Rod Kincaid of Esquire. “Anyone not doing that now, in this age of increased scrutiny, is like a shoe shop that doesn’t sell polish.”
Esquire Environmental has been named a 2005 Partner of the Year for the Business for the Bay program (www. chesapeakebay.net/b4bay.htm), a movement funded by the EPA to voluntarily enlist corporations into the effort to clean up the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed.
Like Esquire, many ALMR member companies will do whatever it takes to help distributors assist their customers with compliance.
“Recycling companies can provide the paperwork, the proper containers, the pick-up schedule, and the certificates of compliance distributors will need to help customers deal with the new guidelines,” said Abernathy. “We’re not too distant from the time when any small business purchaser of fluorescent lamps will have to prove that the spent lamps were properly disposed of. Otherwise, that business owner or building maintenance contractor will be held liable for improper disposal.”
But who will be held responsible if a company is found to be non-compliant? Will a time come when any seller of fluorescents will also be required to offer a drop-off option for safe disposal? If so, will that seller become liable for non-compliance if his or her customer is not offered the opportunity to properly dispose of the spent lamps?
Although the issues have not yet come down the pike for the industry, mercury-containing lamp disposal is the clarion call for value-added service. This is an opportunity for distributors to satisfy that which is a real and immediate need for their customers. Compliance is simply not optional anymore.
Chichester can be reached at email@example.com.
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