Wednesday, September 26, 2012

New CFL Bulb Recycling Container from VaporLok Products LLC Protects Consumers Against Toxic Mercury Vapor

A new Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL) recycling container can safely hold up to four 13-watt, or up to three 23-watt used CFLs, protecting consumers from hazardous mercury vapors if the fragile bulbs inside are broken from mishandling. With the average CFL containing approximately 4 milligrams of mercury, a single broken bulb can release vapor levels dangerous to consumers’ health. Exposure to mercury can cause neurological, kidney and brain damage in adults, children and fetuses.

Especially significant, this CFL recycling solution is the only one that adsorbs mercury vapor inside the container to protect the consumer from vapors if the bag is opened with broken bulbs inside. It can also be used to collect bulb debris and cleanup materials from bulbs broken in the home by following the EPA’s clean-up procedures. The new recycling container effectively reduces mercury vapor concentrations to levels below the OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) to help alleviate consumer concerns about mercury vapor exposure from broken CFLs.

The container features a special foil bag material that prevents mercury vapors from seeping through the bag, and further includes the patent-pending VaporLokCAPTURE™ adsorbent pad technology that captures more than 95% of released mercury vapors inside the bag, protecting consumers from mercury exposure. Consumers and businesses can purchase 3-Paks of  VaporLokCAPTURE™ recycling bags online at for only $6.99 US, including free shipping within the USA. When full, consumers can visit™ or call 1-800-CLEANUP® to easily find retailers or municipalities who accept CFLs for recycling, at no additional cost for most locations.

Read the full release for more information. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Why is it Important to Recycle Used Fluorescent Lamps?

According to EPA estimates, only 20% to 25% of used fluorescent lamps are recycled, These lamps are commonly sent to a recycler in bulk or in pre-paid shipping recycling boxes. The 75% to 80% of fluorescent lamps that are not recycled usually end up in dumpsters or trash containers and, ultimately, in landfills. One study indicates dumpsters that contain broken fluorescent lamps “strongly and persistently” emit mercury.(1) Another study on mercury release from broken fluorescent lamps found that between 17% to 40% of the mercury in broken low-mercury fluorescent lamps is released to the air during the two-week period after breakage.(2) Of this mercury, one-third of the release takes place during the first eight hours following breakage, potentially exposing personnel in the vicinity to unsafe levels of mercury vapor. Using this estimated release rate and an estimated 620 million lamps discarded annually in the United States, broken used fluorescent lamps release approximately two to four tons of mercury each year into the environment.

Used fluorescent lamps need to be properly handled during shipping and recycling. Safe packaging reduces the threat of mercury vapor emitted from broken lamps.

Brad Buscher
Chairman and CEO
VaporLok Products LLC

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Workplace Lighting

Many businesses strive to keep management expenses low, ensure energy efficiency and provide a safe work environment for employees. When it comes to selecting lighting, all of these aspects must be factored in. Fluorescent lamps have long been the best lighting option for small to large businesses, due to their significant energy savings—providing four to six times higher efficiency than incandescent lights—and long working life. However, these lamps contain hazardous mercury and, from installation to disposal, they must be carefully handled, stored and transported.

While the amount of mercury used in an individual fluorescent bulb has decreased over the past years, one broken four-foot fluorescent lamp in a small room or vehicle can release enough mercury vapor to exceed the OSHA mercury exposure eight-hour limit—posing a significant occupational health risk. Plus, mercury vapor can be emitted for weeks after a single bulb is broken. In their lifetime, fragile fluorescent lamps are handled by manufacturers, transporters, distributors, retailers, consumers and installers, as well as recycling or waste handlers. Although the lamps could break anywhere down this line and expose workers and the environment to hazardous mercury vapors, there are no universally enforced packaging standards designed to protect these people. Recent legislation has begun to address the issue of safe packaging for fluorescent lamps and other mercury-containing products, and businesses must work to not only comply with these regulations, but also ensure the safety of all personnel in addition to protecting the environment.

Brad Buscher
Chairman and CEO
VaporLok Products LLC

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