Compact Flourescent Lamp (CFL) Recycling Information


Residents and local businesspeople are invited to drop off household fluorescent lights, including compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) in the clearly marked bin in the Public Works Division, Suite 230 of Village Hall. If you need to dispose of old fluorescent tube lights of various lengths, please contact Mariana Dominguez-Hardie for assistance at (305) 365-8945 or mdominguez@keybiscayne.fl.gov.

While CFLs are much more energy efficient than incandescent lamps, they do contain a small amount of mercury, meaning they should be handled with care and disposed of properly. Many cities accept them at a household hazardous waste (HHW) facilities.

 

CFL Facts and Recycling Strategies

Sealed within the glass tubing of CFLs is a very small amount of mercury, classified as hazardous waste and a health concern. On average, CFLs contain four milligrams of mercury - about the same amount that would fit on the tip of a ballpoint pen. This may seem high to some, but keep in mind that old thermometers contained about 500 milligrams of mercury. Mercury allows the bulb to be an efficient light source. No mercury is released when the bulbs are intact or not being used.

Thanks to a commitment from members of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), most makers of light bulbs have reduced mercury in their products. This has been made easier by advances in technology. Based on these two factors, the average mercury content in CFLs dropped at least 20 percent in the past few years. Some manufacturers have gone as far as to have dropped their CFL's mercury content to 1.4 to 2.5 milligrams per light bulb.

Like other light bulbs, CFLs are made of glass and can break. Be careful when removing a CFL from its packaging, installing  a new one into a lamp or fixture, or replacing one once it burns out. Always hold the base of the bulb, not the glass, when screwing and unscrewing it. Don't force the bulb into the socket. If a CFL breaks in your home, follow the clean-up recommendations provided by the EPA. Used CFLs should be properly disposed of through recycling.

While many companies hope to have non-mercury CFLs in the near future, right now, such lamps are not currently available.

When you are ready to recycle your used lamps:

  • Be sure to carefully package them to ensure that they do not break in transport. This could release dangerous toxins.
  • An easy way to prepare used lamps for recycling is to box them up in the packaging from your new lamps.
  • Store your old lamps until you can locate an appropriate place to recycle them.

The EPA recommends that burnt out CFLs are returned to local recycling centers or household hazardous waste events that accept CFLs. If your state or local environmental agency allows you to put used or broken CFLs in the garbage, make sure to seal the bulb in two plastic bags before being placed in an outdoor trash can for pickup. Never send a fluorescent light bulb or any other mercury-containing product to an incinerator.

 

While many companies hope to have non-mercury CFLs in the near future, right now, such lamps are not currently available.

When you are ready to recycle your used lamps:

  • Be sure to carefully package them to ensure that they do not break in transport. This could release dangerous toxins.
  • An easy way to prepare used lamps for recycling is to box them up in the packaging from your new lamps.
  • Store your old lamps until you can locate an appropriate place to recycle them.

 

SYMBOL LABEL COLOR ORIGINAL CONSUMER PRODUCT USES POST-RECYCLING USES
 Plastic recycling #1 graphic PET or PETE
polyethylene
terephthalate

Usually clear, transparent. Can be
green, blue or brown
smooth surface

Food packaging: Flexible soft drink, non-orange juice, beer, water, sports drinks, mouthwash, salad dressing, and cooking oil bottles; peanut butter,  jam and pickle jars, microwave trays
Non-food uses: textiles (polyester!), carpeting, strapping

Polyester fibers/cloth, fleece clothing, fill for comforters and outerwear, recycled fiber carpet, strapping, sbeverage containers, auto parts, paint brushes, industrial paints, film and sheet plastic
 Plastic recycling #2 graphic HDPE
high-density
polyethylene
Often opaque Food packaging: More rigid milk jugs, orange juice and water bottles; some bleach, detergent, shampoo, soap and toiletry bottles; resuable water bottles; cereal box liners
Non-food uses: Pipe and conduit, 5-gallon
buckets, shipping containers, thin film plastic shopping bags, wire and cable coverings, wood composites, Hula Hoops.

Shampoo, conditioner, cleaning products, detergent, engine oil and antifreeze bottles; milk jugs, grocery bags; rulers, trash cans, recycling bins, agricultural pipe, truck cargo liners, car stops, roadside curbs, tables, benches, playground equipment, crates, floor tiles, gardening tools, flower pots, hardscape materials (edging, etc.)

Plastic lumber - used for playgrounds, outdoor patios, picnic tables, etc.

Plastic recycling #3 graphic PVC
polyvinyl chloride

White (pipe) and
all colors;
flexible durable
plastic

Food packaging: Vegetable oil bottles,
clamshell containers, food wrap.
Non-food uses: Blister packaging and
cling films; rigid piping; electrical cable
insulation; vinyl records.
Difficult to recycle because it contains chlorine. Low-grade products like binders, cables, carpet backing, decking and fencing, film plastic, flooring, park benches, pipe, speed bumps and traffic cones.
     Plastic recycling #4 graphic LDPE
    low-density
    polyethylene
    Transparent,
    flexible
    Food packaging: Clear plastic grocery and produce bags; 6-pack rings; bread bags, frozen food bags; squeezable bottles for honey, mustard, etc.;
    cling films; flexible container lids; coatings in paper cups and milk cartons.
    Non-food uses: shrink wrap, wire coverings;  containers, dispensing
    and wash bottles, tubing, molded laboratory equipment 
    Compost bins, garbage cans, film plastic, furniture, garbage can liners, paneling, plastic lumber, shipping envelopes.
     Plastic recycling #5 graphic PP
    polypropylene
    White, all colors;
    inert; heat and
    moisture resistant
    Food packaging: Yogurt containers; margarine tubs; ketchup and syrup bottles, most bottle tops/caps, some food wrap; microwaveable disposable take-away containers; disposable cups; plates.
    Non-food uses: medicine bottles, auto parts, carpeting, diapers, some bags
    Auto parts (battery cases, signal lights, battery cables), bike racks, brooms, brushes, garden rakes, ice scrapers, storage bins, industrial fibers, food containers, dishware, shipping containers.
     Plastic recycling #6 graphic PS
    polystyrene
    Often white Food packaging: Foam cups, egg cartons, “to go†boxes; some clear cups and containers; disposable cups, plates, cafeteria trays, cutlery; ice chests.
    Non-food uses: packing peanuts and other packaging, desk accessories, toys, video cassettes/CDs/DVDs and cases, clamshell containers, medicine bottles, medical products, vending cups, insulation board.

    Casings for electronics - cameras, video cassettes, Desk trays, egg cartons and food service items, License plate frames, architectural plastic mouldings, rulers, thermal insulation, thermometers, vents.

    Packing peanuts are reusable - drop them
    off at a local business!

     Plastic recycling #7 Other graphic O or Other
    combo of resins 1-6 or
    polycarbonate
    White, colors
    rigid
    Food packaging: Beverage, baby milk, citrus juice ketchup bottles; large reusable water bottles and containers; oven baking bags, plastic plates and cups
    Non-food uses: Melamine, compact discs; "unbreakable" glazing; electronic apparatus housings.
    Bottles, plastic lumber applications, headlight lenses, and safety shields/glasses.
     Plastic recycling #7 PLA graphic PLA
    polylactic acid
    (NOT PLASTIC)
      Polylactic acid is a safe, biodegradable, compostable (not recyclable) plastic made from corn starch or other plant sugars. Bio-based plastics made from potato, sugar, or corn derivatives Compostable, not recyclable





    Sources of Information:

      http://earth911.com/recycling/hazardous/cfl/tips-on-recycling-a-cfl/

       

       

       


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