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Light Bulb Recycling – It’s a bright idea

by Mike Connors 30 August, 2010 11:08

Most business owners are unaware of new laws that not only mandate energy efficiency products (and regulate the use of mercury in these products), but also their disposal. Hefty fines can be levied for those that don’t comply.

In specific:

  • The EPA and many states have enacted new laws that dictate requirements for the disposal of many types of light bulbs and ballasts. In many areas, fluorescent, metal halide, high-pressure sodium and mercury vapor bulbs can no longer be disposed of in the trash.
  • Business owners who replace their own lighting should consult with their local municipality, utility or use resources such as www.lamprecycle.org to determine if they need to recycle and if so, how and where to do it properly. Of course, even where recycling is not mandated business owners should give consideration to proper disposal. Lamprecycle.org has a cool application on the site to identify the nearest recycling provider to your business. Additionally, you can purchase recycling containers online. These prepaid boxes and pails ensure that your light bulbs are recycled properly. A recycling certificate is also available upon request.

While the various federal, state and local agencies are incapable of policing recycling as closely as they might like, they do take advantage of random enforcements. A case-in-point took place in 2007/2008, when Macy’s Retail Holdings Inc. and the U.S. EPA agreed to a settlement over hazardous waste management violations at Macy’s stores in Albany and Garden City, N.Y. EPA alleged in 2007 that Macy’s failed to properly identify and handle spent fluorescent and other types of light bulbs at the two stores. This action cost Macy’s nearly $50,000 in penalties.

This example is just one of the many reasons to ensure proper light bulb recycling. Recycling is a bright idea for you, your business and the environment.

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