Source: the Light Bulb Market ~ Lighting your way
Recycling Your Light Bulbs
|Today we are all
more aware of our impact on the earth and atmosphere. Light Bulbs
containing mercury are certainly an element of that. Without getting too
technical or detailed, I hope to provide you with the information you need
to properly recycle or dispose of these types of light bulbs. This is not
meant to be a comprehensive outline of all requirements and regulations.
What I do want to do is to give you some general guidance as to what to do
with mercury light bulbs and provide resources that give all the nitty
What Light Bulbs to Take Care with:
You might ask why use these light bulbs if they pose a problem to our environment. Manufacturers over the last 20 years have been making huge strides in reducing and eliminating mercury from these energy efficient light bulbs. Using these light bulbs, even though they contain small amounts of mercury, is still better for our environment than using lesser efficient light bulbs. The savings in harmful output by coal burning power plants dramatically outweighs the impact of the mercury in these light bulbsÖ..especially when we dispose of them properly. The Energy Star website explains how compact fluorescent light bulbs save more than 400 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions out of the atmosphere.
If you use these lamps in a large business, you will need to follow more specific rules and steps. Here is a link to the page on the EPA site that outlines this set of guidelines for you.
What do you do if your local environmental regulatory agency provides no disposal options? The EPA recommends that you double bag all fluorescent, compact fluorescent and HID lamps in plastic bags and place them for regular trash pickup. Ultimately, your state EPA may have specific requirements for recycling fluorescent and compact fluorescent light bulbs. Please consult your state or local environmentally regulatory agency. (Note: Meridian Waste will accept one or two tube bulbs, double-bagged with tube broken)
What do you do? Open windows and doors to allow the vapor to escape the area. Turn off your heat/air unit so that the vapors arenít spread through your home. Have everyone leave the area where the breakage occurred and remove all pets. Itís never a bad idea to wear disposable plastic gloves. If itís on a hard surface, use a heavy piece of paper or cardboard to scoop up the breakage. If on carpet, carefully pick up the pieces and place them in a glass jar or double bagged plastic bag. Use a heavy duty tape to pick up small particles that arenít already removed and dispose of in the same jar or bag. If on a hard surface, wipe area clean with a disposable wipe. If on carpet, vacuum the small particles ONLY and dispose of the vacuum bag or wipe the canister clean with a disposable wipe.
Place all clean-up materials outside in an out-of-the way place for the next trash pickup. Some states require certain disposal restrictions. Check with local or state environmental agency to determine rules that apply to you.
Safe and proper disposal or recycling mercury light bulbs that are burned out is always recommended. Most states follow either the federal EPA rules or Californiaís rules. Itís important to educate your self and help us keep our air clean.