by Erin Wright
Wright Services, LLC
Fluorescent lighting appears to be going the way of the Dodo bird. While it’s true that fluorescent lights can save energy, that savings comes at a cost. At the end of its life cycle, a fluorescent bulb can leach mercury into the environment if the fragile lamp breaks. Mercury is a neurotoxin. When a fluorescent bulb breaks, releasing mercury into the air, it can be inhaled as a vapor and may cause symptoms such as tremors, insomnia, emotional changes, headaches, muscle weakness, atrophy, and twitching, among others. Excessive exposure to mercury can lead to kidney malfunction, respiratory failure, and death.
In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has included fluorescent lights as part a hazardous waste category known as universal waste. Considering the potential health concerns, and with more cost-effective and energy-saving lighting options available, many contractors and electricians are eschewing fluorescent lights and are now retrofitting buildings with LED lighting.
In many states, throwing out old fluorescent bulbs is a violation of both state and federal environmental regulations. If inspectors discover that a company has been unlawfully disposing of its fluorescent bulbs, the company may incur hefty fines.
So, what’s the best way to responsibly undertake fluorescent bulb disposal once a building has completed a LED retrofit?
Many businesses are now participating in corporate lightbulb recycling programs. By having a preferred solution for getting rid of the old fluorescents, companies can avoid costly mistakes.
Fluorescent lamp disposal kits often come in two sizes, 4ft and 8ft. These kits can hold between 30 and 140 used fluorescent bulbs, depending on their size. Environmentally-responsible recycling kits should always include a certified recycling container, free delivery and pick up, disposal and recycling fees, and a certificate of recycling.
For contractors and electricians who are looking for a user-friendly and cost-effective recycling program, it can be as easy as 1, 2, 3.
- Select and purchase the recycling container that will best fit your recycling needs.
- Fill up the container with fluorescent lamps at your own pace. When you’ve filled your container, call to schedule your pre-paid pick up. Your container will then be delivered to one of the many authorized recycling centers located throughout the United States.
- Once your recycling is completed, you’ll be able to track your recycling reports, get a certificate of recycling, and opt-in for automatic container replacement.
Business lamp recycling doesn’t have to be a time consuming, expensive endeavor. By choosing an appropriate fluorescent lamp disposal system after your LED retrofit, you’ll not only help to ensure the health and safety of a building’s occupants, you’ll also contribute to the safe removal of toxins and avoid potentially costly fines and clean up fees.