Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Recycle CFLs in the Proper Places

Energy-saving light bulbs could be good for reducing energy bills, but not good for the environment if they are not properly disposed. The popular spiral-shaped compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) contain up to five milligrams of mercury, and if not recycled correctly could end up in the land, air, and water. The Association of Lighting and Mercury Recyclers (ALMR), based in Napa, California, released a study detailing that only abut 2% of residential consumers recycle their CFLs and other florescent lighting. According to a study in the Air and Waste Management Association's Journal, this could amount to four tons of mercury being dumped in landfills around the world each year. Allegheny County Health Department spokesman Guillermo Cole, lists some places where consumers can drop off CFLs for proper disposal. "Every Home Depot and every Lowes store in the county will accept used CFLs. They can also be taken to IKEA, which is in Robinson, and to the Pennsylvania Resources Council on the South Side." Donna Mazza, the Program Coordinator for the Pennsylvania Resources Council (PRC), says that their recycling box is located in their lobby during regular business hours. The PRC cannot take broken CFLs or tubes. Mazza also mentions that if consumers go to the Waste Management website, they can buy and order boxes to recycle the CFLs from home. Mazza says a curb-side pick up for CFLs may only benefit the community if precautions are taken. "That could create a danger if the CFL would break, because then the mercury would get into the air. So, if they were to be recycled curb-side they would have to be put into a tightly sealed container." Details about events where the public can drop off CFLs and other items that are not recyclable at curb-side can be found at

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