Lamp Recycling: Changes Create Challenges

Maintenance Solutions

Legislative mandates are forcing managers to rethink the way facilities dispose of mercury-containing lamps.

The proper end-of-life handling of mercury-containing lamps presents institutional and commercial facilities with important decisions. Where once these lamps could simply be thrown away with the rest of a facility’s trash, environmental concerns centering on mercury have given rise to requirements to dispose of these products more carefully.

Increasingly, maintenance and engineering managers face questions from within their organizations about the most effective way to address the challenge — namely, whether to throw away the lamps or to recycle them. The regulatory situation surrounding lamp recycling and disposal is evolving rapidly in ways that will affect managers’ decisions. Developing a cost-effective strategy requires that managers understand the compliance issues, their disposal and recycling options, and the key considerations in their ultimate decision.

The regulatory picture

Mercury is fundamental to the efficient operation of fluorescent and almost all high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps. In fluorescent lamps, mercury is used to generate ultraviolet light that is converted to visible light by the phosphor. A “no-mercury” fluorescent lamp loses about 70 percent efficiency. HID metal halide and most high-pressure sodium (HPS) lamps use mercury as a starting aid and for voltage control.

Mercury’s presence in fluorescent lamps used for years in many facilities nationwide has prompted regulatory action at both the federal and state levels.

Staying Compliant with Lamp Recycling Regulations

Air Cycle solutions can make it efficient and simple to recycle spent lamps and stay compliant with regulations. Track and prove amounts of waste recycled with online Recycling Reports and official Certificates of Recycling. Explore the Air Cycle interactive state regulations map or learn more about recycling solutions » Air Cycle lamp recycling
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