Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Recycling Fluorescent Lamps

The EPA estimates recycling rates of fluorescent lamps at only 20 to 25 percent, leaving the majority to be placed in dumpsters and eventually end up in landfills—where they may emit hazardous mercury vapor into the environment. The consumer recycling rate has been estimated to be even lower—possibly at less than 2 percent.

According to one study, mercury air emissions could be lowered by 30 percent if recycling rates are increased to 50 percent and improvements in handling are made to lower losses from breakage. (1) Consumers can choose to recycle used lamps in several different ways. Lamps can be sent to a recycling facility via truck, UPS or FedEx® in bulk or through pre-paid shipping recycling box programs—which provide simple online ordering, tracking and compliance documentation for the proper management of mercury-containing items and other types of Universal Waste.

Mercury-containing waste that isn’t properly recycled poses a serious environmental and health concern. Safe recycling facilities exist, but should be encouraged by new rules and regulations. New legislation should also ensure that used fluorescent lamps are packaged in configurations proven to effectively contain mercury vapor emitted from broken lamps.

1. 3. Cain, A.; Disch, S.; Twaroski, C.; Reindl, J.; Case, C.R. Substance Flow Analysis of Mercury Intentionally Used in Products in the United States; J. Ind. Ecol. 2007, 11, 61-75.

Brad Buscher
Chairman and CEO
VaporLok Products LLC

No comments:

Post a Comment