Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Minimize Safety, Health and Environmental Risks of Used Fluorescent Lamps: Recycling

Despite the safety, health and environmental hazards of used fluorescent lamps, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates recycling rates at only 20 to 25 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.

Once received, the recycler may crush the lamps, along with other contaminated products, devices and debris, to safely exhaust the mercury vapor and extract and reuse the resultant mercury—ensuring mercury is not released into the environment. This process minimizes the potential dangers of mercury vapor emitted from used fluorescent lamps—effectively reducing environmental liability and protecting both handlers and consumers from potential safety hazards and health risks.

Read our previous posts in this series on how to handle, store and transport used fluorescent lamps, and find out next week what do if the bulb breaks.

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