Fluorescent Bulbs should be Recycled as Universal Waste
Fluorescent bulbs are mercury-containing lamps regulated by the Universal Waste Rule (40CFR273) to encourage recycling. These lamps are exempt from the more stringent management standards for hazardous waste if recycled.
Mercury is an element that can come from both natural and man-made sources. Coal fired power plants are a primary man-made source, as mercury that naturally exists in coal is released into the air when coal is burned to make electricity. Coal-fired power generation accounts for roughly 40% of the mercury emissions in the U.S.
Although salvage yards generate very few bulbs each year special handling is required:
- Store spent fluorescent bulbs in a sturdy container to prevent breakage during accumulation, storage, and transportation. Label the storage container “Used Lamps” and mark it with the date the first bulb was placed in the container to document the one-year time limitation.
- Provide proper training to employees responsible for the storage of used lamps (i.e. storage, labeling, etc.) and capture and contain all accidental releases from broken lamps with the same care as other hazardous waste.
- Recycle used lamps through a bulb recycling facility. The recycler will provide storage containers upon request. Maintain the shipment record until disposal is completed.
Options for Bulb Management
- Many salvage facilities recycle their spent fluorescent bulbs through their supplier of new bulbs. These suppliers are known as Universal Waste Handlers. This is a cost effective and convenient way to properly manage spent bulbs as long as the supplier/UW Handler can document that the bulbs are ultimately being recycled.
- Often the supplier does not take back spent bulbs in which case a recycling service must be used.
of spent bulbs as there is a $100 minimum pick up fee. 2) Bulbs can also be dropped off at the A-TEC in Des Moines for a minimum drop off fee of $25. They also recycle unusable computers and monitors, a growing waste steam known as E-Waste. 3) Prepaid packaging can be a convenient option for facilities without access to a UW Handler or recycling center. Specially designed shipping boxes safely ship standard 4', 6', 8', u-tube, compact fluorescent and HID lamps for recycling. The boxes conform to all U.S. Department of Transportation and EPA Universal Waste regulations. Simply purchase the desired quantity of boxes to meet your needs, insert the lamps you wish to recycle and ship via UPS™ to the recovery facility. $20 Mini-Tube Prepaid packaging can ship Eight (8) 4-foot T-12 bulbs or Fourteen (14) 4-foot T-8 bulbs. $70 4-foot Bulbs Prepaid box can ship 36 T-12 or 70 T-8 bulbs. $75 8-foot bulb Prepaid box can ship 22 6- or 8-foot T-12 bulbs or 40 6- or 8-foot T-8 bulbs.
- With proper documentation from the manufacturer green-tip bulbs may be landfilled. The green-tip bulbs boast
low mercury levels and longer life for twice the environmental benefit. The manufacturers encourage consumers to recycle green-tip bulbs. One advantage of the low mercury bulbs is that they do not contain mercury above the regulatory limit of 0.2 mg/L. With documentation provided by the manufacturer, a facility generating spent green-tip fluorescent bulbs may landfill the bulbs, as long as the local or state regulatory agency allows it, as is the case in Iowa. The Generator of the spent green-tip bulb must prove that the bulbs are non-hazardous either through laboratory analysis or by thorough knowledge such as keeping the manufacturers' low-mercury statement on file at the facility. non-hazardous status for green tip bulbs.
Sue Schauls Consulting can provide employee training workshops at your facility for any of the following auto salvage required training. Two sessions can be administered to facilitate a productive work day while reducing the cost of sending employees to off-site training.
Airbag Shipping Training
HazMatU was created for individuals working in the automotive industry to gain a clear and accurate understanding of complex Hazmat (Hazardous Material) shipping regulations. www.HazMatU.org allows the salvage yard to train as many employees as needed during a 12-month period for $299 or per $75 per person. HazMatU is easy-to-use, available to every employee and a cost effective way to train staff without travel expenses.
Airbag Resources is an exclusive software designed to enable ARA members to train and certify employees, inspect and track OEM non-deployed airbag modules effectively and efficiently within their operations. The Airbag Resources site and customized software are provided by ARA Product Services LLC., exclusively for members of the Automotive Recyclers Association.
From your own personal computer, take the training course and the test online.
The Iowa-Illinois Safety Council
Cutting Torch Training
The Federal OSHA Bloodborne Pathogen Standard was published in 1991. It was designed to reduce and minimize the potential for occupational exposure to the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or more commonly referred to HIV, the Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) and other human Bloodborne pathogens. This training module can be purchased to train individual employees for $19.95.
Sue Schauls is an independent Environmental Consultant with specific expertise in the automotive salvage industry. She recently developed the I-CARE certification program for the Iowa Automotive Recyclers association. She currently serves at the regulatory consultant to the Iowa Automotive Recyclers. She has a BA Science: Environmental Planning from University of Northern Iowa - July 1996.
Sue provides tools and resources to Auto Salvage Yards for environmental, health and safety compliance.