Category: Lamp Recycling

Health, green groups push for mercury warnings on CFL labels | Inquirer News

In a common letter sent to the Departments of Trade and Industry, Energy, and Environment and Natural Resources, EcoWaste Coalition and 17 other groups said these products must have “contains mercury” disclosures on their labels.“Consumers have the right to know that fluorescent lamps and other kinds of lamps contain mercury and should be handled with extreme caution, from the point of purchase to disposal, to avoid breakage and release of mercury vapor,” said Thony Dizon, coordinator of EcoWaste’s “Project Protect.”

Broken or crushed lamps may expose consumers and workers, including waste handlers and informal recyclers, to mercury, a potent neurotoxin that can negatively affect brain development in unborn and growing children, Dizon said.

Busted or spent mercury-added lamps are considered hazardous waste under Republic Act 6969, the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act and classified as “special waste” under RA 9003, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.

Based on a recent market monitoring conducted by EcoWaste, all 12 brands of CFLs that it bought from major supermarkets and hardware stores contain no mercury warning labels, and none provided information about the amount of mercury each product contains, the group said.

The 12 CFL products were Akari, Amarflex, Delta, Firefly, GE, Luxen, Omni, Osram, Panasonic, Philips, Sylvania and Toshiba.

The products may be deemed “mislabeled” under Article 91 of RA 7394 for “failing to provide mercury warning information and other pertinent facts,” the group said.

Under that law, a product containing hazardous substances is deemed mislabeled if it fails to state conspicuously the common name of the chemical contributing to its harmfulness and the signal word “warning” or “caution.”

Read more:

via Health, green groups push for mercury warnings on CFL labels | Inquirer News.

Compact fluorescent light bulbs: Consumers complain some CFLs burn out fast

Compact fluorescent light bulbs, or CFLs, were supposed to save us money. But a growing number of people are complaining that those energy savings are offset by the high cost of the bulbs, and the reality that they can fail long before they are supposed to. Bought Into the Hype Gene Zgoda, like many of us, bought into the CFL hype a few years ago.He installed the energy saving compact fluorescent bulbs in his kitchen ceiling light and bathroom vanity light.The bulbs, he had heard over and over again, save energy and last many years.Except they didnt.

Gene says he couldnt believe it: Some of his new expensive bulbs were burning out after less that 2 years.”They say they are going to last longer than old bulbs, and pay for themselves. They are pretty expensive. I think I paid $13 for some of them,” a frustrated Zgoda said.

Dirty Little Secret. Its the dirty little secret of CFLs, that cost between a dollar and $9 each these days.They can last up to 15,000 hours, 10 times the lifespan of a standard incandescent bulb. But manufacturers admit the bulbs life is much shorter, if it is turned on and off constantly, as in a kitchen.”If we left this on all the time,” Zgoda said, “it would be great, theyd last a long time. And then wed waste more electricity! So wheres the gain here?”The US Department of Energy now suggests not using CFLs if they are not going to be on at least 15 minutes, as in the bathroom.

Read more via Compact fluorescent light bulbs: Consumers complain some CFLs burn out fast.

Sun is the original source of light

Sun is the original source of light which is essential for every living being. Artificial light is generated by converting electric energy, through the medium of electric lamps, specially designed for the purpose. The manufacture of electric lamps is taken up by companies that have reputation at national as well as international levels. For maintaining their reputation and brand identification, they insist upon procuring the required accessories of lamps from reputed manufacturers. There are such established manufacturers of quality products in India that include lead in wires and caps for lamps, bright annealed bare and plated wires made out of ferrous and non-ferrous materials.

Quality of the ancillary materials is of utmost importance for assuring the durability and dependability of the lamps. Therefore, these materials are required to be manufactured with the latest technology through plant and machineries procured from countries like the USA, Japan, Taiwan and Hungary that specialize in this area of manufacturing. Besides installation of the advanced plants and machineries, it is essential that the manufacturer of lead wire and annealed wires need to have ISO certification under ISO 14001:2004 and OHSAS 18001:2007. A certification of Green Category for quality adds to the credibility and reliability of the manufacturer. Besides, consistent maintenance of delivery schedules, safety and eco-friendly environment take the manufacturer to the top rating position.

via Sun is the original source of light.

China to Cut Mercury in Compact Fluorescent Lamps

The mercury density of compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) will be reduced by 80 percent by 2015 in comparison to 2010, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) said Tuesday.

Mercury content will be cut to less than 1 mg in more than half of new CFLs, according to a plan drawn up jointly by the MIIT, the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Environmental Protection.

Further efforts will be made to cut mercury discharges that occur during the production process by 50 percent by 2014 in comparison to 2010, the plan said.

Engineers have successfully developed mini-watt CFLs with a mercury content of less than 0.5 mg, according to the MIIT.

The plan is part of greater efforts to cut energy consumption and make industrial design more environmentally friendly, the ministry said.

via China to Cut Mercury in Compact Fluorescent Lamps.

New law requires Washington businesses to recycle all fluorescent lights – Mercer Island Reporter


Mercer Island Reporter Staff

Beginning Jan. 1, 2013, all Washington businesses will be required by law to recycle their fluorescent light bulbs and tubes.

The law, RCW 70.275.080, was passed in 2010 with Section 8 becoming effective on New Years Day. It requires all persons, residents, government, commercial, industrial and retail facilities and office buildings to recycle mercury-containing light bulbs and tubes at the end of their life.

Nationwide, efforts to increase energy conservation and lower operating costs are increasing the use of fluorescent tubes and compact fluorescent lamps CFLs. The downside: each light contains a small amount of mercury that can be harmful to both humans and wildlife when disposed of incorrectly.  According to the Washington State Department of Ecology, about 680 million lights are disposed of annually, most at solid waste disposal facilities, including landfills and incinerators.

Under the new law, the most common types of lights that will need to be recycled include CFLs, fluorescent tubes and HID high-intensity discharge lights.

via New law requires Washington businesses to recycle all fluorescent lights – Mercer Island Reporter.

CFL Cancer Scare Debunked » Electric Co-op Today

If the story appeared in a supermarket tabloid you’d probably chuckle, shake your head, and then pay for your groceries. But when stories about compact fluorescent bulbs posing health risks turn up in Scientific American, you have to take notice.

Not to worry, says NRECA’s Cooperative Research Network. But electric cooperatives will want to be aware of what’s going on, because some members are asking questions.

“About a year and a half ago, there were some reports in the European media that CFLs cause cancer and there was a university study. It was picked up by a lot of reputable media outlets in Europe and the United States,” said Brian Sloboda, CRN senior program manager.

“And then one day, a reporter called the university to interview the researcher. And the researcher said he had no clue because he’d never done any work like that. It was a total fabrication,” Sloboda explained.

Fast forward to July of this year, when Scientific American and others picked up on research conducted at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

Sloboda said some co-ops received calls from members asking about this story, which suggested the university found some correlation between skin cells in a Petri dish and ultraviolet radiation emitted by some CFLs.

“The details are different,” said Sloboda, who took a closer look. “The simple answer is that there is, for most people, not too much to be concerned with.”

For starters, some of the cells used in the SUNY study are not normally exposed to sunlight. So it’s worth looking at research by others, including the Food and Drug Administration.

That found that while CFLs do produce UV light, it is a small amount “equivalent to just being outside in the sunlight for a minute or two,” Sloboda said. “So it doesn’t cause direct damage.”

The only eyebrow-raising finding by the FDA concerns people with pre-existing conditions, such as lupus, that cause the skin to be hyper-sensitive to UV light. And in those situations it’s only people who are “using the CFL very, very close to your skin for an extended period of time,” Sloboda said. “Most people are not doing that.” FDA recommends keeping the CFL at least a foot from your skin.

Co-ops can advise members to talk to their physician, and if they’re still worried, to buy LEDs which don’t emit UV light.

But Sloboda said the bottom line is: “You’re far more at risk for skin cancer by going outside and never using sunscreen for several years. That’s what puts you at risk—not having a CFL in a table lamp.”

By Michael W. Kahn | ECT Staff Writer via CFL Cancer Scare Debunked » Electric Co-op Today.

Wash. program to recycle mercury lights | Local News | The Seattle Times

The Associated Press

Washington consumers soon will be able to recycle compact fluorescent bulbs and other lights that containing mercury at no cost.

Washington consumers soon will be able to recycle compact fluorescent bulbs and other lights that containing mercury at no cost.

A state law passed in 2010 called for a program to collect, transport and recycle residential lights containing mercury starting Jan. 1. That law will also make it illegal for people to discard burnt-out fluorescent bulbs in the trash starting next year.

The recycling program will be paid for by producers of lights that contain mercury.

State regulators say broken fluorescent lights expose workers, residents and children to toxic mercury vapors. Mercury poses a threat to public health.

The Department of Ecology recently adopted a rule to carry out the law.

via Wash. program to recycle mercury lights | Local News | The Seattle Times.

International News:: OFT complaint over Recolight ‘cartel’ | Materials Recycling Week

4 December 2012 | By Neil Roberts

A lamp recycling firm has lodged a complaint with the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) alleging manufacturers are operating a “cartel”.

The complaint, submitted by Manchester-based Mercury Recycling, came as concerns were raised in the House of Commons about the sector recycling compliance scheme, Recolight.

Labour MP for Stretford and Urmston, Kate Green, asked the Government for a debate on the “apparent abuse of the electrical equipment recycling market”.

She said: “Four multinationals—Sylvania, GE, Osman and Philips—appear to be seeking to subvert the effect of the forthcoming recast waste electrical and electronic equipment directive by operating a cartel in relation to the recycling of waste electrical equipment, which is putting the viability of independent recycling companies and local jobs, including in my constituency, at risk.”

Lord Barnett, non-executive chairman of Mercury Recycling welcomed the MP’s intervention and confirmed the firm had submitted a complaint to the OFT.

Barnett said it was currently “uneconomic” to promote lamp recycling in “what should be a growing market”.

“Unfortunately this has caused great hardship to companies such as ours and resulted in 40% of our staff being made redundant.”

Last month MRW reported industry concerns following the end of court action brought by a lamp wholesaler and recycler against the manufacturers and their producer compliance scheme Recolight.

Proceedings were brought at the High Court by City Electrical Factors (CEF) and Electrical Waste Recycling Group (EWRG) in 2010, but in October Recolight issued a statement saying the proceedings had been dismissed.

The firms had accused Recolight and its owners, the lamp manufacturers, of anticompetitive behaviour and breaching WEEE regulations by refusing to accept responsibility for lamps collected or processed by CEF and EWRG.

Nigel Harvey, CEO of Recolight said the firm strongly denied the allegations.

“Recolight operates in full compliance with all applicable legislation, and fund the recycling of considerably more waste lamps than required by the WEEE regulations.

“We recently launched a competitive tender to select recyclers for 2013, and encourage all lamp recyclers to take part in the process. We do this in order to ensure we secure the best possible service on behalf of all of our members and our network of over 2000 collection points. Our objective is, and always has been, to keep this hazardous waste stream out of landfill, and to make it as easy as possible for businesses and consumers to recycle.”

via OFT complaint over Recolight ‘cartel’ | News | Materials Recycling Week.

County landfills grapple with fluorescent bulb conundrum

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A compact fluorescent light bulb uses about 75 percent less energy than the old-fashioned kind and lasts up to 10 times longer. They may cost more upfront, but a net savings of $25 during the life of each bulb has spurred American households to make the switch en masse to the energy-saving bulbs in recent years.

But there’s a little-known fact behind the bulb that’s otherwise so environmentally friendly on the surface. Compact fluorescent light bulbs contain mercury that can end up in the air or water if not disposed of properly.

Yet, in many North Carolina communities, the bulbs end up in the trash and eventually the landfill rather than special disposal programs.

“It’s a dirty little secret that we’re not managing them properly,” Macon Solid Waste Director Chris Stahl said.

Soon, however, Macon County will be one of the few in North Carolina to set up a system for collecting and properly disposing of the compact fluorescent bulbs.

It’s a long time coming, Stahl said, expressing his frustration with dealing with them during the years without a proper system in place.

“I have hated bulbs for 11 years,” Stahl said.

Macon County will collect bulbs from residents for free. They will then be shipped to a facility in South Carolina for processing. Commercial entities will be charged 75 cents per fluorescent bulb.

The program should be in place by January 2013, contingent on receiving the required state permits and a grant that will hopefully help cover the special disposal costs.

Without a disposal program in place, Stahl previously referred business owners and residents who brought him bulbs to disposal centers as far away as Asheville or Johnson City, Tenn. Some large retail stores such as Lowe’s also accept fluorescent bulbs. But Stahl was doubtful many residents made the extra trip.

“If you bring me 20 bulbs, I would refer you to places which are authorized to take them,” Stahl said. “But what you might do instead is take heavy duty trash bags, break them into little bits and bring them back to my facility. And I don’t look into every bag.”

In North Carolina, only 20 counties and a few cities are set up to collect bulbs. Many large businesses have contracts with companies to collect their bulbs, and some residents use mail-in programs, in which a prepaid box is shipped full of the fluorescent lights to a processing facility.

Mercury in the trash

But as it stands, many residents just throw them in the trash, which is not explicitly illegal. While it is illegal for commercial entities to throw fluorescent bulbs away, residential light bulbs containing mercury are given a free pass to the trash.

The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources only goes as far as strongly encouraging residents handle the bulbs properly.

Scott Mouw, the state’s recycling director, said the best way to keep the fluorescent bulbs and their mercury out of the landfill would be to have local towns and counties operating, and promoting their local programs.

Because even though residents can toss the fluorescent bulbs in the trash, mounting levels of mercury can be troublesome for landfills. A typical compact fluorescent bulb contains about three milligrams of mercury — the equivalent of the tip of a ballpoint pen. Once thrown in the trash, the mercury can eventually find its way to water and contaminate fish populations.

Eating contaminated fish is one of the most common ways humans ingest harmful mercury.

And although three milligrams of mercury per bulb is seemingly a small amount, Mouw predicts it will become more of a problem given the sheer number that are out there.

“There will be a lot more of them over time,” Mouw said. “Incandescent bulbs are starting to lose the market share.”

In the region, Buncombe, Haywood, Swain, and soon Macon counties have disposal programs. Jackson County does not have a residential program.

In Jackson County, Public Works Director Chad Parker, who also oversees solid waste, said he refers residents to Lowe’s. Yet, for a county that is roughly 500 square miles, only using retail stores such as the hardware giant can limit accessibility, versus accepting the bulbs at all eight of the county’s trash sites.

“For residents, we don’t have a program in house,” Parker said. “But it’s something we’ll be looking at.”

Counties, like commercial entities, are supposed to dispose of their fluorescent bulbs properly. Parker said he hopes the county could piggy-back off the program they use for the county’s own bulbs while implementing one for residential disposal.

However, he cited the law as being on the county’s side for the time being when it comes to handling residential fluorescent bulbs.

“The only thing I can say is that residential bulbs can go into garbage,” Parker said. “Commercial waste has to be dealt with separately, but the state will allow residential bulbs to go into the waste stream.”

A growing program

Meanwhile, Haywood County has been ahead of the curve. It’s been following best-practices for compact florescent bulbs for about five years. It is free for residents to drop off their fluorescent bulbs.

And county Solid Waste Director Stephen King reports each year, more residents are setting aside their burned out bulbs and bringing them to county trash sites for processing.

In 2009 when the county started taking bulbs in Haywood County, its facilities collected about 5,000 feet of fluorescent light bulbs. In 2011, the county collected about 37,000 feet. Already, in the first four months of this fiscal year, 15,000 feet of bulbs have been collected.

He said a majority of those are not the long, four- or eight-foot tubes, but rather the small, compact fluorescent bulbs.

“As people become more and more aware, we have more and more participation,” King said. “It’s actually pretty easy to do, which is great because it’s not going into landfill.”

He said the primary reason for collecting the bulbs was to keep mercury from leeching out of the landfill and into the water. But, King is so leery of the bulbs and the mercury in them he doesn’t even allow them in his home.

When a fluorescent bulb breaks it releases a small amount of mercury vapor. The EPA recommends if one breaks inside, people and pets should evacuate the room for five to 10 minutes and any air circulation devices should be shut off.

“I have a hard time with mercury-containing devices where kids can break it and breathe it in,” said King, who is also a father. “When you start looking at the whole picture, they’re not as green as we thought they were.”

via County landfills grapple with fluorescent bulb conundrum.

City to get pilot project on safe disposal of mercury in CFLs – Indian Express

City to get pilot project on safe disposal of mercury in CFLs

Hazardous metal waste can affect brain and nervous system if not disposed of properly

The city is likely to be chosen for a project on disposal of “fused” compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) bulbs that contain mercury – a hazardous metal that can affect the brain and nervous system if not disposed of properly.

A report submitted jointly by TERI and the Electric Lamp and Components Manufacturers’ Association of India (ELCOMA), which represents the CFL manufacturers, proposes that Delhi and Bangalore should be the two sites for the pilot project.

Disposal of CFLs has been a controversial issue because prolonged exposure to the toxic metal, mercury, can lead to serious health problems. Safe disposal has proved tricky because of problems at all three stages – extraction of mercury from the bulbs, transportation of the metal and recycling.

The report submitted to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests in December last year, recommends a six-month project.

Spent CFL bulbs will be collected from households and put in carbon-coated drums. These will be then crushed under a mercury-absorbing filter to restrict vapours from getting into the air. This will make transportation easier.

These drums will be taken to a recycling site where the mercury will be extracted from the crushed glass and converted into sulphide.

H S Mamak, adviser for ELCOMA, said: “We have submitted our proposal. We are awaiting a formal go-ahead.”

A Delhi government official confirmed that the ministry could soon sanction the project.

The country doesn’t have a law on CFL disposal, though the Environment Ministry and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) have been brainstorming to frame a draft legislation since 2007.

via City to get pilot project on safe disposal of mercury in CFLs – Indian Express.