Washington State Launches LightRecycle Progam
In a move to limit the impact of mercury containing light bulbs and tubes, Washington state has launched the LightRecycle program. The program allows for the recycling of screw-in compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), HID bulbs, and certain fluorescent tubes. Residents and small businesses are able to recycle up to 10 bulbs / tubes each day for free. Those of you in Washington looking for an eligible location you can look it up on the LightRecycle website. Larger companies usually have their own way of disposing of these bulbs and tubes as part of their hazardous waste plan.
Funding for the program comes from a $0.25 Environmental Handling Charge (EHC) applied to each mercury-containing bulb and tube sold to Washington residents. The fee went live on January 1, 2015 and while retailers collect the EHC, they in turn remit it back to the state.
Whether you live in Washington or not, recycling your old CFL bulbs is a great idea. Recycling help to keep mercury-containing lighting out of landfills where it can impact the water supply. Instead the lights are broken down so that the aluminum and mercury can be used in the production of new gadgets.
Recycling locations exist all over the country. The EPA provides options to help you find a location that accepts light drop offs. Please note that not all drop off locations are free, so you'll want to make sure of that before you go. You can also buy prepaid recycling kits for your bulbs and tubes. Regardless of the option you choose, just make sure you don't just throw out your CFL bulbs.
Washington's program is the first of it's kind even though many other states have their own lighting recycling programs and protocols in place. This is a great alternative to simply banning this type of lighting which might be incredibly difficult for many people and businesses to abide by as LED pricing hasn't hit the point where it makes sense for everyone to upgrade.