Wednesday, September 5, 2012

What Do the Manufacturers Say About CFL Recycling?

Although consumer awareness of the health and safety risks associated with mercury vapor emitted from broken CFLs has increased, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates recycling rates of possibly less than two percent. If not properly recycled, the emitted mercury vapor poses a significant threat to not only the health of consumers, but also to the health of our environment. Mercury-containing products, such as CFLs, need to be properly recycled to truly be considered truly green products. Yet according to a study conducted by Toxic Waste Facts (1), only one of the three top light bulb manufacturers displays significant recycling information on their packaging:

Philips: The packaging of a CFL from Philips contains no specific information on disposal or risks associated with mercury contained in the bulbs. The information on the packaging details the life expectancy, wattage, a recycling symbol and an A rating.

TESCO: The packaging of a CFL from TESCO includes handling and fitting safety instructions, as well as a list of states that ban CFL household waste disposal, with more information available in store or via the website Packages also contain the A rating and the crossed-out wheeled bin symbol. However, they do not offer any instructions regarding breakage clean-up or health risks.

General Electric: The packaging of a CFL from General Electric contains no information on disposal, recycling or any risks associated with the bulb. The information on the packaging details the life expectancy, wattage and an A rating.

It is important that consumers are made aware of the risks associated with broken CFLs and other mercury-containing products, and manufacturers should change packaging to better detail risks, usage and disposal methods.

Brad Buscher
Chairman and CEO
VaporLok Products LLC

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