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CFL Bulb Recycling Options Abound?

Environmental Leader

Recycling companies are making it easier for businesses to address hazardous waste recycling at their operations. Air Cycle Corp., for instance, has upgraded its online resource, LAMPRECYCLING.COM to provide businesses with an easier system for recycling their fluorescent bulbs, CFLs, batteries, ballasts, and electronic waste, and tracking their recycling efforts.


What Are the Best Fluorescent Bulb Disposal Options?


For all the energy fluorescent lights save, they come with a little string attached. At the end of their lives, the lamps can have a serious but often overlooked impact on the environment: the release of mercury into the environment each time one of the fragile lamps breaks. So what are the best options for fluorescent lamp disposal?

Massachusetts Fluorescent Lamp Recycling Facts

Massachusetts Dept. of Environmental Protection

Using fluorescent lamps makes business and environmental sense because they consume one quarter as much electricity as incandescent lighting. At the same time, spent and broken fluorescent lamps need to be handled very carefully because they contain small amounts of mercury. Standard linear fluorescents, lamps with green end caps or green marking, compact fluorescents, high intensity discharge (HID), neon and high-pressure sodium lamps used in outdoor lighting all contain mercury.

Air Cycle Announces Bulb Recycling Partnership With Marriott Hotels

Marriott lamp recycling

(Broadview, Ill.) June 6, 2008 -- Air Cycle Corporation, a firm that has pioneered unique pre-paid services, such as the EasyPak™ Recycling Program and the Bulb Eater® for large firms that prefer crushing and recycling fluorescent lamps on site, announced today that it has been chosen by more than 500 Marriott –branded hotels to provide an environmentally safe process for disposing of fluorescent lamps.

Lamp Recycling: The Easy Way to Go Green

Lamp recycling - the easy way to go green

Electrical Products and Solutions

The social mandate to Go Green may seem like one more headache for office managers responsible for creating and policing recycling programs for hazardous and other waste.

Yet tackling the complex problem now may very well avert far greater ills, such as stiff fines from regulatory agencies and a tarnished public image.

Non-industrial companies are most at risk because often they are unaware of state, local, and federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) laws. These laws make it illegal to improperly dispose of such common items as spent batteries and fluorescent bulbs. In fact, due to the mercury content in fluorescent, mercury vapor and other lamps and lamp fragments, the federal EPA says recycling is the best way to dispose of these materials.

Facts Show How and Why Bulb Recycling Plan Works

AFE Facilities Engineering Magazine - March/April 2007

Waste is lost raw material, lost product, lost resource, and lost profit. Generating significant amounts of waste is not sustainable for today’s society. The accelerating pressures on natural resources, impact of new technology on resource use, increasing waste generation and the need for more sustainable approaches to using natural resources represent new challenges to our society.  

For over 20 years, the recycling of paper, cardboard, glass, plastic and other materials have been a part of waste management practices for property and facility managers. As space utilization and consumption patterns of our building occupants change with new technologies, the efficient use of non-renewable resources and the proper disposal of environmentally sensitive waste are having a greater impact on service and operations.  

A New Look at Fluorescent Lamp Disposal

By A. Lee Chichester, from the May 2006 issue of TED Magazine

A new look a 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.”

Good Riddance to Old Lamps

Building Operating Management - By Laura Bayard

Recycling used lamps, experts say, is the best way to keep mercury in fluorescent lamps out of the environment

As far as the environment is concerned, fluorescent lamps are a good-news, bad-news story. The lights save an enormous amount of energy compared to incandescent and certain other lamp technologies, reducing harmful emissions and reducing facility operating costs. But at the end of their lives, the lamps can have a serious but often overlooked impact on the environment: the release of mercury into the environment each time one of the fragile lamps breaks.

The Hidden Benefits of Bulb Recycling

As most university maintenance personnel and electricians already know, nearly all lamps are considered hazardous waste and spent bulbs can no longer be tossed into dumpsters. Due to the mercury content in fluorescent, mercury vapor and other lamps and lamp fragments, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends recycling of lamps and lamp components as the proper method of disposal.

Besides federal regulations, institutions must also follow all applicable state and local regulations. For example, some states prohibit even the newer non-hazardous low-mercury lamps from being disposed of in solid waste landfills. To eliminate the liability and risk of fines due to improper disposal, universities must recycle their lamps.

Bulb Recycling Impacts Sustainability 

Lamps in the landfill

By Today's Facility Manager Magazine - Paul Walitsky, CHMM

By diverting waste from landfills, facility managers can help the environment and move toward sustainability.

A recycling program is one way facility managers can contribute to the reduction of the mercury released into the environment. And a critical mass in the number of U.S. states requiring removal of most mercury containing lamps from the commercial waste stream may soon be reached.

On July 12, 2005, New York State will join the ranks of seven other states that require all commercial facilities to recycle mercury containing lamps, whether or not the lamps are designated as hazardous waste. The other states that require commercial facilities to recycle these lamps are Minnesota, Vermont, Maine, Connecticut, Rhode Island, California, and Florida. In New York, households and very small generators of lamp waste are exempt from the new rule.

Lamp Recycling Made Easy - Compliance with the Universal Waste Rule

Building Services Management - May 2005

Whether constructing or maintaining an office building, hospital or home, decisionmakers must consider environmental regulation compliance as they dispose of potentially hazardous waste.