Sep 6, 2009

Used Light Bulb Recycling

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) recently re-launched LampRecycle.org, a comprehensive site developed to provide a one-stop source of information about recycling lamps (the term used in the lighting industry to refer to all types of light bulbs).

NEMA and its member companies hope the revamped site will aid in raising awareness among consumers and businesses about energy efficient lighting and the importance of recycling mercury-containing lamps.

“Lighting manufacturers have long supported lamp recycling as the proper method of disposal to keep mercury from the waste stream,” said Jennifer Dolin, manager of sustainability and environmental affairs for OSRAM SYLVANIA.

“The NEMA Web site is now much easier to use, and we hope it will help individuals and businesses learn about the importance of lamp recycling and take the appropriate steps to recycle their used mercury-containing bulbs.”

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As part of its efforts to raise awareness about lamp recycling, manufacturers will include labels to denote ways to learn more. Photo: LampRecycle.org

As part of its “fresh face,” the Earth911.com Recycling Search is featured on the site to provide users with easy access to local lamp recycling information.

“With benefits such as curtailing mercury pollution in our environment and reducing energy consumption by recycling, disposing of these products through the proper channels is a win-win for everyone,” said John Furman, CEO of Earth911.com

Even if recycling is not mandated by law, such as the case for both businesses and residential users in Massachusetts, ensuring these products do not reach the landfill is essential.

Not only do CFLs contain small amounts of mercury, but other fluorescent lamps and some high intensity discharge (HID) lamps contain the heavy metal as well. Recycling a mercury-containing lamp ensures that 99.98 percent of the mercury used in the lamp is recovered, according to Lamprecycle.org

Manufacturers also include the LampRecycle.org URL on the packaging of all mercury-containing lamps sold in the U.S. as part of a standard educational label.

The EPA estimates that ENERGY STAR CFL sales for 2007 totaled approximately 290 million bulbs – nearly double the sales in 2006 – and constituted almost 20 percent of the screw-base light bulb market in the U.S.


Jennifer Berry is a staff member at Earth911.com.

9/4/09

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