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Proper Lamp Disposal Necessary to Avoid Fines


They're everywhere and you may have never even thought about recycling them. But, tossing fluorescent light bulbs in the garbage is illegal. There are free ways to dispose of them properly. Incandescent bulbs are on the way out.  The old lights waste energy because they get too hot and are going out of production. The new fluorescent bulbs contain mercury and other harmful chemicals that need to be recycled.

Kyles recycles everything from cell phones to needles, but one of her biggest items is fluorescent light bulbs. Barrels of bulbs are shipped out so harmful chemicals like mercury can be disposed of properly. There's only a tiny amount in each bulb, but businesses throw away hundreds of bulbs at a time. "We do not want large quantities going to our landfills and polluting our environment," said Kyles.

Businesses have to pay $1.73 per pound, which is why many companies break their bulbs so they have to be thrown away. It's an easy out to save a buck. "It should not be an out for them," said Kyles. The Department of Toxic Substances says large fines and criminal prosecution await anyone who trashes the bulbs.

For the everyday consumer, county recycling services are free. "By law, they are supposed to recycle their fluorescent light bulbs," said Waste Management Specialist Ann Kyles. It's free for consumers because the recycling is paid for by property taxes.

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