Light Recycling:


  • Recycle Incandescent Light Bulbs
  • Recycle Fluorescent Tubes
  • Mandatory Assorted Light Recycling
  • Safer for Workplace and People
  • Licensed Recycling Center
  • Pick-Up Services Provided
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Light Recycling

Fluorescent Tubes, HID, Halogen, Compact Fluorescent, Incandescent, LED…

The Need for Light Recycling

Mercury is found in many rocks, including coal. When coal is burned at a utility power plant to produce electricity, mercury is released into the environment. In the U.S., burning coal at power plants results in a little more than 40% of all mercury emissions from man-made sources. Using energy-saving fluorescent lights instead of incandescent bulbs reduces demand for electricity, which in turn reduces the amount of coal burned by power plants, which in turn reduces emissions of mercury.

In 2001, Californians alone disposed of or recycled an estimated 122 million used mercury-containing fluorescent lamps. In the past, these lamps were mostly disposed of in municipal landfills. Mercury-containing lamps in landfills have contributed to mercury in California’s environment via surface runoff, leaching into groundwater, and potential atmospheric emissions in landfill gas.

All fluorescent and HID lamp products contain mercury. If these lamps are simply thrown away and end up breaking, the mercury becomes airborne and can harm the environment. According to the Interstate Mercury Education and Reduction Clearinghouse (IMERC), about 60 percent of lamps sold in the United States in 2004 contained no more than 10 milligrams of mercury. The good part is that no mercury is released when bulbs are intact (i.e., not broken) or in use. Only small amounts of mercury can be released into the environment when individual lights break, or if they are improperly disposed of at the end of their useful lives. However, add up the estimated number of lamps sold in a given year, and the total amount of mercury tops 20,000 pounds. It is estimated that it takes only one ounce of mercury to contaminate a 20-acre lake for a lifetime.

How Are Lights Recycled?

Whole lamps enter the recycling process and undergo the initial glass breakage. The material is further crushed by rotating drums and moved to a trommel system. The lamp components are separated by the trommel system and each co-product is deposited into its own container. The end caps are collected, sampled, analyzed for mercury content, and shipped to an off-site metals recycling facility for their aluminum content. The glass is sampled and analyzed for mercury and sent for recycling or disposal, depending on the current market. The phosphor powder is further separated for glass fines and collected in containers and shipped off-site for retort. The ferrous portion of the lamps, the filaments, are removed by a magnetic separator and sent for retort. The mercury recovered from the retorted co-products is then triple distilled and sold on the domestic market as Technically Pure Mercury.

What Lights Can We Recycle for You?

Modern Waste can recycle virtually any kind of light including the following:

  • Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL)
  • 4’ and 8’ Fluorescent Tubes
  • High Intensity Discharge (HID)
  • Halogen
  • Incandescent
  • LED

Modern Waste makes it simple for you to have comprehensive and compliant light recycling services that adhere to all applicable local, state and federal rules and guidelines. You Make ONE Call or Click:

  • We will provide the equipment you need
  • We will train you on what you need to know
  • We will come to you to pick up or you can drop off
  • We will record what we receive from you in our database
  • We will shred, wipe, recycle or dispose of your waste
  • We will provide certificates and reports as needed

Contact us today to speak to a specialist that can help you custom make a program that best suits your organization’s needs. Call 916-249-4657 or click the orange “Get Started” button at the top of the screen to begin your journey to a simplified solution.

    What service(s) are you interested in?

    Electronic Waste Recycling Hard Drive Data Destruction Battery Recycling Junk Pickup & Disposal

    Document Shredding Aerosol Can Disposal Light Bulb & Lamp Recycling

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