How to dispose of fluorescent light bulbs

Written by Nicholas Serrano. Posted in Business

Published on March 23, 2011 with No Comments

You see them everywhere; in local businesses, large retailers, hospitals, schools, grocery stores, offices and government buildings. Fluorescent lighting is a common fixture in many buildings thanks in part to its energy efficiency and the cost savings it provides.

Most of us are familiar with fluorescent bulbs including the common 4-foot and 8-foot “tubes.” Most of us know that the bulbs are energy efficient – using about one-fourth the energy and lasting about 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs. That efficiency saves energy and money.

Many of us, however, are unaware that fluorescent bulbs as well as other types of energy-efficient lighting contain mercury – which is toxic. When broken, compacted, crushed or disposed of improperly, fluorescent bulbs may release mercury into the air, water and soil posing a significant risk to human health and the environment.

All fluorescent bulbs contain mercury. In fact, the standard fluorescent bulb has about 20 milligrams of mercury. These lamps must be managed properly to protect human health and the environment. When purchasing lighting, look for bulbs that not only provide the greatest energy efficiency and longest life, but also contain the lowest possible mercury content.

When disposing of objects containing mercury, it is important to remember to never break open items that contain mercury, never pour mercury down the drain, never burn mercury, and never put mercury in the trash.

Items containing mercury should be taken to your local solid waste management district.

Lake County Solid Waste Management District is located at 7820 Broadway in Merrillville. For more information, call 769-3820, or visit www.lcswmd.com. The Recycling and Waste Reduction District of Porter County is located on the third floor of the Porter County Administrative building at 155 Indiana Ave. in Valparaiso For more information, call 465-3694, or visit www.itmeanstheworld.org.

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