Fluorescent Lamp Disposal: What Are the Options?

FacilitiesNet.com

For all the energy fluorescent lights save, they come with a little string attached. At the end of their lives, the lamps can have a serious but often overlooked impact on the environment: the release of mercury into the environment each time one of the fragile lamps breaks.

So what are the best options for fluorescent lamp disposal?

The Environmental Protection Agency has placed standard fluorescent lamps into a category of hazardous waste known as universal waste. Though the federal government classifies used lamps as hazardous waste, the rules governing spent lamps are regulated at the state level. Because the laws governing lamp disposal vary across the country, know the law in the areas where you have facilities.

Although fluorescent lamp-disposal options vary by state, industry and environmental experts agree that the best choice is to recycle fluorescent lamps. During the past five years, lamp recycling has increased. In 2004, approximately 670 million lamps were used in the United States, of which 525 million were used by businesses and other institutions, say the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) statistics. 

Recycling Fluorescent Lamps with Air Cycle

Whether you manage a large or small facility, Air Cycle has a cost-effective way to recycle your facility's spent fluorescent lamps. The Bulb Eater® lamp crusher makes it easy to safely store spent lamps prior to recycling, and is fully compliant with EPA and OSHA environmental standards. For facilities that generate smaller amounts of lamps or other waste, the EasyPak™ mail-in container program is a great fit.