As of January 1, 2015, Washington State residents will be able to recycle mercury-containing lights at no charge, through the LightRecycle Washington Program. You can drop lights off at authorized Collection Sites throughout Washington State. Categories of acceptable lights include fluorescent tubes, compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and high intensity discharge lights (HIDs),
- Why Recycle?
- Reducing mercury releases in two steps.
Step 1: Use energy-efficient lighting. Step 2: Recycle your lights.
Washington State law now requires that all mercury-containing lights be recycled. All fluorescent and High Intensity Discharge lights contain mercury – a potent neurotoxin. Although a single fluorescent light contains a very small amount of mercury, millions of these lights are sold every year in Washington State. Taken together, the mercury from fluorescent lights and HIDs has potential to harm human health and the environment if not properly recycled.
Unbroken lights are safe to handle and use. Disposing of mercury-containing lights in regular garbage can cause the mercury to be released if they break. Recycling these lights prevents the mercury from being released. Since mercury can vaporize at room temperature, mercury could be released from broken lights in your home, in landfills, or at any point in-between. Mercury can be particularly harmful to children, infants and fetuses by impairing neurological development.
Reducing mercury releases in two steps.
Step 1: Use energy-efficient lighting.
It’s not close. Fluorescent lights use far less electricity than incandescent lighting. According to the US Department of Energy, fluorescent lights use 25-80% less energy and can last 3-25 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
This is an important step because roughly half of the electricity in the United States is produced by coal-burning power plants. Since mercury occurs naturally in coal, it is released when the coal is burned. In the United States, “Coal-burning power plants are the largest human-caused source of mercury emissions…” (www.epa.gov/hg/about.htm). In short, using mercury-containing lights reduces mercury emissions by reducing energy consumption.
Step 2: Recycle your lights.
Recycling lights in Washington has never been easier or less expensive. Just drop your unwanted fluorescent, CFL and HID lights at LightRecycle WashingtonCollection Sites throughout the State.
Recycling lights and other materials preserves our finite natural resources, decreases the amount of waste entering landfills, reduces pollution, saves energy and stimulates economic development. Please recycle!