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RE: [greenyes] Mercury in the waste stream: Targeting fluorescent lamps

Good morning, Alan.
Our office recycles approximately 800 fluorescent tubes a year. We
simply re-use the original tube packaging and are able to safely secure
about fifty spent tubes per box. Our recycler charges us 23 cents a
Delaware should have regulations about storage prior to shipment.
Years ago we had considered a bulb crusher but it seems to me that one
is creating a hazardous waste where a universal waste previously
existed. And, some states have strict regulations regarding their use
or do not allow them at all.
For those familiar with LEED, the new EB (Existing Buildings) standard
addresses fluorescents in two separate credits.
The first is a prerequisite that requires that the Owner maintain
mercury content of all mercury-containing light bulbs below 100
picograms per lumen hour, on weighted average, for all
mercury-containing light bulbs acquired for the existing building and
associated grounds.
The second is a credit which is for recycling of spent tubes.
Personally, I think they got it backwards and recycling of any toxic
material should have priority regardless of the quantity.
As Robert F. Kennedy says "All pollution is a subsidy" and citizens are
going to pay for fluorescent recycling by a surcharge at the time of
purchase with a manufacturer take-back requirement, pay at the time of
disposal/recycling or have future generations pay in the form of medical
costs or clean-up.
There's no question that the new low-mercury bulbs are a definite
improvement and if universally used would lower mercury emissions from
coal fired power plants but there's still no alternate for safe and
proper recycling.
Bruce Maine
Sustainable Specifications & Materials Manager
LEED Accredited Professional
HDR Architecture
bmaine@no.address <>


From: Alan Muller [mailto:amuller@no.address]
Sent: Wednesday, August 03, 2005 6:15 AM
To: greenyes@no.address
Subject: Re: [greenyes] Mercury in the waste stream: Targeting
fluorescent lamps

At 03:29 PM 8/2/2005 -0600, Megan Kershner wrote:

We have identified Mercury as a pollutant of concern in our
community. Having reviewed other municipal surveys on the impacts of
Mercury, we have discovered that 35-40% of the Mercury entering our
environment comes from solid waste disposal (e.g. fluorescent lamps,
thermostats, etc.).

The question is - how do you get residents and conditionally
exempt small quantity generators to properly dispose of fluorescent
lamps? How do you get CESQGs to pay for disposal (approximately

I would like to know what is considered proper disposal for Fl. lamps.
They seem too fragile and bulky to ship without individual re-packaging,
which seems almost impracticable, but breaking them surely releases much
of the mercury as vapor.....?


Alan Muller, Executive Director
Green Delaware
Box 69
Port Penn, DE 19731 USA
fax (302)836-3005
greendel@no.address <>

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