Fluorescent lights contain trace amounts of mercury. Rather than disposing of burnt out fluorescent lights in the garbage you can recycle them at our depot.
Fluorescent lights are energy efficient compared to incandescent bulbs. The mercury in these lamps does not pose a risk unless the lamp is broken. When the lamps are trashed, the mercury escapes into the atmosphere and leaches into the soil, groundwater, streams and lakes. This is harmful to the health of all living things because mercury is a neurotoxin that attacks the central nervous system.
When mercury makes its way into our waterways it contaminates the food chain by building up in the tissue of fish and other animals. Check the latest Guide to Eating Ontario Sport Fish. This publication provides information about consumption advisories due to toxic substances including mercury. Specific lakes in Northwestern Ontario are mentioned, including Lake Superior.
EcoSuperior's lamp recycling program is aimed at keeping mercury out ofthe environment. One hundred percent of the lamp is recycled, including glass, metal end caps and phosphor powder. Most importantly, the mercury is reclaimed and recycled, rather than being landfilled. Collection depots are in place in Thunder Bay, Neebing, Atikokan, Nipigon, Red Rock, Terrace Bay, Geraldton and Longlac for residents living in and around these towns.
Who can recycle:
Our collection depot is offered for residential use only. We can accept quantities of TEN bulbs or less. Commercial and industrial spent bulbs or larger quantities can be taken to MGM Electric (724 MacDonnell St, ph 345-7767) in Thunder Bay. MGM charges a ‘per foot’ fee for this service.
How to recycle:
- Bring your lights to the collection depot at our office. We are located at 562 Red River Rd (between Hill & Pine, across from Lowerys, parking off Hill at the back) open 8:30 to 4:30, Monday to Friday.
- We can accept bulbs that are 4 ft and shorter. We do not have facilities for longer bulbs. They can be taken to MGM Electric (see above) where a fee is charged.
- We DO accept burnt-out compact fluorescent bulbs (the small spiral type).
More recycling tips:
- Please DO NOT TAPE bulbs together. Removing tape can result in breakage.
- Lights are best bundled with a couple of elastic bands. You can wrap them in newspaper or their original cardboard packaging to protect them during transport.
- Please take your packaging with you when you drop off lights.
- We can not recycle broken bulbs.
What to do if you break a fluorescent bulb:
- Remove people and pets from the room. Avoid stepping on any broken glass.
- Ventilate the room for at least 15 minutes by opening windows and doors to the outdoors.
- Do not use a vacuum cleaner as this can spread the mercury vapour.
- Scoop up the broken pieces and debris with two pieces of stiff paper or cardboard. Do not sweep with a broom.
- Use sticky tape (masking tape or duct tape) to pick up any remaining fine glass.Wipe the area with a damp paper towel to remove any residual particles.
- Place the broken glass, tape, and paper towel in a plastic bag and seal it.
- Dispose with your regular household garbage.
- Wash your hands.
Why switch to compact fluorescent bulbs that contain toxic mercury?
Keeping things in perspective:
Typically a compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL) uses one quarter the energy compared to an incandescent bulb of similar light output (known as lumens). A CFL typically lasts up to ten times longer than an incandescent bulb. The amount of mercury in (CFL) is tiny. Coal-fired power plants are the single largest sources of mercury in our environment today because coal contains mercury. Reducing our electricity consumption by switching an inefficient incandescent bulb to a CFL reduces our need for burning coal, thereby reducing associated emissions, including mercury, outweighing the mercury use associated with producing the bulbs.
Thanks to Ontario Power Generation for their support of this program.
Page last updated on Friday, March 02, 2012