Guide to disposing of fluorescent bulbs

A Guide for Disposing of Fluorescent Light Bulbs

Posted by on July 27, 2020
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Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are a popular item used by various businesses, schools, and other institutions due to their energy efficiency. In fact, CFLs and fluorescent tubes use 75% less energy than other sources of lighting, while lasting ten times as long. They also limit our need for coal-based power plants, which causes a reduction in mercury emissions.

As energy efficiency is essential these days and CFLs play a significant part in this, knowing how to dispose of fluorescent light bulbs will create more community safety. If you’re unsure of how to go about getting rid of your fluorescent light bulbs, this guide will provide you with the necessary information to go about it correctly.

Take the Necessary Precautions

For any disposing of hazardous waste, you’ll want to take the necessary precautions to avoid injuries or potential dangers. Once you see that a burnt-out tube needs replacing, turn off your energy source to prevent burns and take your time to ensure there is no breakage. Then, put the tube in paper or towels.

To Recycle or Not to Recycle, that is the Question

Now that you have wrapped the fluorescent tube, you may be wondering whether you should put it in the garbage or recycling bin. According to the Recycling Council of Ontario, 90% of Canadians are throwing their CFLs into the garbage bin, even though it’s best practice to recycle them.

They also determined during a study that 32% of Canadians use a “controlled” method to throw them away, 24% went to a drop-off centre to dispose of them, and 8% returned them to a neighbourhood supplier or retailer.

The province of Ontario is so passionate about recycling light bulbs and lamps that they created the Take Back the Light program. According to the initiative via their website, Take Back the Light, “supports a circular economy by ensuring lights are responsibly recycled and reused where possible.”

How to Dispose of CFLs Correctly

There are various ways to dispose of CFLs, and the only incorrect way is by putting them in the garbage. Even though fluorescent bulbs have 4 milligrams of mercury each, our waste management professionals at RedBins know that they still must be handled as a hazardous substance. Mercury is toxic when it is in the environment, especially in locations near water. That’s why properly disposing of these items is essential.

Mercury exposure causes many hazards, including building pollutants in the atmosphere, which can eventually come back in the form of rain and snow. As a result, both land and water become polluted. Also, mercury can develop in animal tissue, such as in fish, and consuming them could be potentially dangerous.

Here are some of the best ways to dispose of CFLs to avoid mercury exposure in the environment.

  • Take your burned lights to a local waste facility or hazardous waste drop-off
  • Find out if your local retailer will accept them (like Canadian Tire or RONA, for instance)

Why do CFLs need to be recycled?

Since we know that CFLs contain mercury, this means that the light bulbs are considered energy-efficient lighting sources. To avoid releasing mercury into the environment, recycling them is the optimal choice. Just be sure that the bulbs are intact; otherwise, they will create vapours from the mercury.

If you are dealing with a broken bulb, then you’ll want to follow these guidelines so that your safety is not compromised:

  • Open up a window to air out the room for 10 to 15 minutes
  • Take a thick piece of cardboard and gather any shards of glass or powder
  • Place all the materials into a sealed container, then leave it outside until it can be collected
  • Contact a local waste management company (like the team at RedBins) immediately, or take them to a drop-off spot to dispose of them

As previously mentioned, these bulbs must be recycled, as they contain recyclable properties, like glass and metal. That means that the other materials can be repurposed. Also, you must never throw out light bulbs with your household waste; recycling them is best for ensuring they stay out of landfills. Since energy-efficient practices are so necessary in the current state of our world, you must do your part and recycle fluorescent tubes correctly and with care. It only takes a minimal amount of effort and will create a safer environment for everyone.

At RedBins Disposal, we pride ourselves on ethical waste management. If you’re curious about how our process works, we take every measure to keep things out of the landfill as much as we can. Our environmentally-friendly junk removal services are popular among our loyal Canadian customers, and we send the junk we collect to various transfer stations in the GTA. Then, the waste is adequately sorted so that it can be correctly recycled. We will even send salvageable household items to organizations that repurpose these products and create something new and wonderful with them. When you choose RedBins Disposal, you’re contributing to the health of your environment and the surrounding community.

If you are looking for a world-class junk removal company with an excellent reputation in the GTA, be sure to call us today at 416-RED-BINS or 416-733-2467. You can also fill out the contact form on our website, and our team will get back to you as soon as possible.

We look forward to helping you remove your junk in an eco-friendly way!

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