All of the latest news and insights into the electrical world, from Fastlec.
Light Bulb Recycling
It was way back in 2007 when the UK government made a declaration that old style incandescent light bulbs would be phased out by 2011 in favour of energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs. Their positive environmental impact is two-fold: they use less energy to create the same amount of light and they also need to be replaced less frequently creating less waste.According to Greenpeace UK, a typical household can benefit from savings of about £9 per year, or £100 over the lifetime of a bulb, after the switch has been made.
Fluorescent Energy Saving Bulbs Contain Mercury
For most of us the old-style bulbs are just a distant memory and though most households and businesses will have fluorescent bulbs installed you may not be aware that they cannot be disposed of with your general waste, or even in your recycling box.So while we're trying to be more environmentally sensitive by using them, incorrect disposal of fluorescent bulbs is incredibly harmful to the environment. The old style incandescent bulbs were easily disposed of in your general waste, after all they comprised of un-recyclable glass, wire filament and an inert gas.CFLs (compact fluorescent lights) on the other hand contain mercury, which is essential for producing such efficient light emissions.Only a teeny tiny amount is present but it's present none the less.Mercury is highly toxic and when released into the environment its impact can be devastating. That's why it's so important to dispose of them correctly. Even if you drop one in your house or at work, the advice is to open the windows and vacate the room for at least 15 minutes to ensure the toxic gases have had a chance to disperse. But if you can't pop them in your normal recycling, what should you do with them? Well, the good news is that most local recycling centres are equipped to take CFLs.If you don't know where your nearest one is, then contact your local council who will be able to point you in the right direction.Also, many retailers also provide light bulb recycling collection points.You can find your nearest points on the Recolight website here.
Your Light Bulb Recycling Options
Local recycling centres
Local lighting retailers
Local electrical wholesalers
Light Bulb Recycling For Business
If you are a business then there is an extensive choice of waste management companies out there who can provide advice and assistance to ensure you are doing you bit to protect the environment and dispose of fluorescent bulbs safely.Just make sure the company you choose is compliant with WEEE (waste electrical and electronic equipment) recycling Regulations, which were put in place by the government to ensure the safe collection, disposal and recycling of WEEE products that often contain hazardous materials.
Plan Your Lightbulb Recycling Now
If you're not currently recycling your fluorescent bulbs then now's the time to make a plan for future disposal and also to take stock of how you currently dispose of other items.It may be more work, but often the easiest way isn't the best, and simply chucking them in the bin and considering it someone else's problem certainly isn't the best solution here.There are 2 million tonnes of WEEE items being dumped every year in the UK. That's 2 million tonnes of waste being disposed of incorrectly.We can all do our bit to help reduce this and make sure the energy efficient products we purchase don't actually end up harming the environment. See our previous post on WEEE Regulations for more details.