Why Recycle Lamps?

Mercury is released into the air or ground water from landfills and ingested by living organisms. At high concentrations, this can be very dangerous. Mercury is a neurotoxin that can harm the developing brains of children and infants; in adults, exposure can lead to memory loss and affect fertility and blood pressure. The EPA is enforcing compliance more strictly than in years past.

Why Is Mercury Bad?

Mercury is a persistent, bio-accumulative toxin that has increased at least three fold in the atmosphere and ocean over the past century, posing a risk to human health, wildlife and the ecological balance. The Food and Drug Administration and 41 states warn consumers to limit or not eat certain fish due to mercury levels and ten states advise pregnant women and children to limit consumption of canned tuna, the most consumed fish in the US. A potent neurotoxin, mercury exposures can affect the brain, kidneys and liver, and cause developmental problems. Data from the Centers for Disease Control indicates that 1-in-12 women of childbearing age have unsafe mercury levels, translating into over 300,000 children born each year in the US at risk of exposure to mercury.

Environmental Impact

What's in a lamp? A fluorescent lamp consists of a glass shell, a high vacuum, a small amount of liquid mercury and evaporated mercury, some phosphor powder, and the metal end-caps and heated filaments. Fluorescent light is produced by passing an electric current through mercury vapor, which generates ultraviolet energy. A phosphor coating on the inside of the bulb transforms the ultraviolet energy into visible light. A single four- foot fluorescent tube contains from 5 to 50 mg. of mercury. When lamps are sent to landfills, or especially when incineration is used as an alternative disposal method, mercury vapors are released that can travel over 200 miles! It is highly toxic to the human nervous system and particularly poisonous to the kidneys. Once absorbed by the body, mercury is distributed by the blood to all tissues of the human body, and it easily crosses the placental barrier; prenatal exposure can lead to a variety of health problems including a severe form of cerebral palsy.

  • Each year, an estimated 600 million fluorescent lamps are disposed of in U.S. landfills amounting to 30,000 pounds of mercury waste.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency reports that 187 incinerators nationwide emit approximately 70,000 total pounds of mercury into the environment each year.
  • In 1992, mercury-containing lamps were added to the United States' Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) list of hazardous substances. (The EPA's regulatory threshold of 2 mg./liter is usually exceeded by mercury-containing lamps).
  • Mercury was number three on the 1997 list of hazardous substances as outlined by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and the EPA.

Due to the new Federal Environmental Protection Agency's regulation on lamps, which went into effect on January 6th, 2000, most non-residential facilities are now required by law to properly dispose of their lamps. Landfills are increasingly intolerant of lamps from non-residential sources due to the amount of mercury found in each lamp. Lamps later found in landfills are subject to retroactive clean-up costs under CERCLA. Recycling of the lamp components is the recommended method of disposal by the Environmental Protection Agency and helps to minimize facility liability.

Packaging of the lamps coupled with the recycling of the lamps will greatly reduce the mercury dilemma and create a much safer environment.

Capital Electric Recycling Solutions

Option 1: Easy Pak Boxes - Smaller Quantities

  • Prepaid boxes that you fill and ship via FedEx to the recycler.
  • Customer will register online.
  • Material is traceable online.
  • Recycler will count material and post results online
  • Customer will be able to print their own certificate of recycling online.

Blueway Recycling Easypak

Option 2: Bulk Pick Up - Medium to Large Quantities

  • Pack up large quantities of recycling material
  • Call Customer Service to schedule a pick up
  • A Capital Electric truck will pick up the material and send it to the recyclers to be processed.
  • Once the recyclers count the material, the information will be sent back to Capital Tristate recycling manager and customer will be invoiced.
  • Certificate of recycling will be provided.

Blueway Recycling Services

Option 3: Bulb eater - Large Quantities

  • Provides emission control to help create the safest work environment possible, while packaging spent straight and u-shaped fluorescent lamps.
  • Includes a system designed to filter both dust and mercury vapor.
  • The unit is equipped with a side-mounted dust filter unit containing the highest quality H.E.P.A. filter available. This works in conjunction with an activated carbon filter located in the steel canister. The activated carbon filter actively captures and neutralizes the mercury vapor released from the lamps during crushing

Blueway Recycling Bulb Eaters

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