Before you toss your lights, read this!
Did you know that fluorescent lights and other mercury-containing lights should not be thrown in the garbage?
Common mercury-containing lights include fluorescent tubes, compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and high intensity discharge (HID).
Disposing of mercury-containing lights in the regular garbage can cause the mercury to be released if they break. This released mercury easily vaporizes at room temperature and has the potential to harm human health and the environment. This is why Washington state law requires that all mercury-containing lights be recycled.
Changes to the Mercury-Containing Lights Product Stewardship Program in August 2016 from the Washington State Department of Ecology aims to make it a little easier for you to recycle your bulbs.
According to the rule, every producer that sells mercury-containing lights in or into Washington State must participate in the product stewardship program. This means developing a comprehensive, safe and convenient collection system, with a goal of recycling all end-of-life mercury containing lights by 2020.
In 2015, the first full year of program implementation, the program collected and properly recycled nearly one million lights. Light Recycle Washington has also been developed to help consumers identify locations to recycle their mercury-containing lights. The network of collection sites allow Washington State residents and businesses to recycle up to 10 mercury-containing lights per day for free.
To find a collection site near you, visit, www.lightrecyclewa.org.
Broken Light Clean-Up Procedure
Be careful not to break fluorescent or HID lights. However, if a light breaks, do not panic; just follow these simple instructions:
✔ Avoid breathing vapors or touching broken materials. Do not vacuum or sweep.
✔ Open windows to vent vapors for at least 15 minutes. Leave the area during this time.
✔ Use stiff paper or cardboard to pick up large pieces.
✔ Use duct tape to pick up small pieces and powder.
✔ Wipe the area clean with a damp paper towel or wet wipe.
✔ Place all materials in an air-tight container, such as a plastic bag that is completely sealed with tape.
✔ Be sure to include the broken light and any items that were used to clean it up.
✔ Wash your hands.
✔ Bring the sealed bag or container to a LightRecycle Washington