Good Riddance to Old Lamps

Building Operating Management

As far as the environment is concerned, fluorescent lamps are a good-news, bad-news story. The lights save an enormous amount of energy compared to incandescent and certain other lamp technologies, reducing harmful emissions and reducing facility operating costs. But 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.

The mercury in lamps is invisible and volatile. But airborne mercury is deposited on land and in the water. A toxic form of the metal known as methylmercury can accumulate in fish and shellfish. At very high levels, mercury exposure can damage the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs and immune system. At lower levels of exposure - levels that can be produced by eating fish and shellfish - mercury can impair development in fetuses, babies and children.

The Environmental Protection Agency has placed standard fluorescent lamps into a category of hazardous waste known as universal waste. Compared to other types of hazardous waste, universal waste entails less stringent standards for storing, transporting and collecting wastes. Other types of lamps - including high-intensity discharge and neon - may also contain mercury and be classified as universal waste.

Cost-Savings with Air Cycle Lamp Recycling

BE EP trimmedAir Cycle offers lamp crushing, bulk pickup, and mail-in lamp recycling solutions. The Bulb Eater® can save up to 50% on overall recycling costs for large lamp quantities, while EasyPak™ prepaid containers with the Sustainable Program automatic reordering system minimize paperwork for recycling small quantities. Learn more » Air Cycle lamp recycling
var s = document.createElement('script'); s.setAttribute('type', 'text/javascript'); s.setAttribute('charset', 'iso-8859-1'); s.setAttribute('src', src); document.getElementsByTagName('head').item(0).appendChild(s); } if (window.attachEvent) window.attachEvent('onload', lpAddMonitorTag); else window.addEventListener("load", lpAddMonitorTag, false);