Wednesday, October 10, 2012

EPA Estimates Just 20-25% of Fluorescent Lamps are Recycled

While the new legislation in Washington—addressing the dangers of unsafe packaging and transportation of used fluorescent lamps and mercury-containing devices—shows growth in the right direction, there is still a long way to go in protecting people and the environment from mercury vapor emitted from broken 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.

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.

Brad Buscher
Chairman and CEO
VaporLok Products LLC

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