Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Researchers Confirm Fluorescent Bulb Packaging Requires Three Layers

A recent study conducted at the University of Minnesota suggests that most containers used for storage and transportation of used fluorescent lamps to recycling centers do not sufficiently prevent the release of mercury vapor from broken lamps.

This study measured the performance of five different packages in three categories of commercially available containers employed for storage and transport of used fluorescent lamps. The first configuration was a single cardboard box, much like the packages new fluorescent lamps are sold in that are often reused as disposal packages. The second category included single boxes paired with a plastic bag—with one box from this group featuring an unsealed, thin plastic liner and the other a tape-sealed plastic bag. The third group of boxes consisted of a double-box design with a bag positioned between the two cardboard layers. One of these double-box designs used a thicker, tape-sealed plastic bag, and the second featured a foil-plastic laminate bag with a zip closure.

Each test package was loaded with 40 used fluorescent lamps , which were then broken by dropping and shaking the package inside a test chamber. Researchers then measured the level of mercury vapor inside the chamber for a six-hour period. Researchers concluded that each of the three layers performs a specific function. The inner cardboard layer prevents the broken glass from puncturing the bag, which contains the vapor. The outer box serves as a protective layer for all contents and also provides structure to the configuration.

Brad Buscher
Chairman and CEO
VaporLok Products LLC

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