Did you know that broken fluorescent, High Intensity Discharge (HID), Mercury Vapor (MV) & High Pressure Sodium (HPS) lamps are considered hazardous waste? If the same lamps unbroken will be considered Non Hazardous waste? This is important for labeling when stored and for DOT manifesting.
Well, they are hazardous and need to be managed in such a way that complies with state environmental laws. If fluorescent lamps are not properly disposed, mercury can contaminate buildings, landfills, lakes, animals, fish, birds, humans, crops and rivers. Although the amount of mercury in each fluorescent lamp is small, it is always important to avoid breaking fluorescent lamps, and that the unbroken lamps be delivered to a hazardous waste handler. Never EVER place fluorescent lamps in trash compactors or incinerators, since this will release the mercury and contaminate the surrounding area. Liquid mercury will not burn, but instead becomes a vapor when heated. It eventually cools and condenses back to a liquid form, spreading the contamination to larger areas.
Businesses, schools and other large commercial facilities that replace hundreds or thousands of fluorescent lamps each year are particularly at risk of creating areas of significant mercury contamination due to improper handling of lamps. These organizations are required to follow the states recycling laws including labeling or risk large fines from either the DEC or the EPA. ERSI Recycling can help you to stay compliant with these agencies with some training.
The Environmental Protection Agency finally ordered waste handlers to treat fluorescent lamps as hazardous waste. With such a classification, fluorescent lamps are not to be sent to landfills, but instead are to be sent to recycling centers that break the lamps under special conditions and safely recover the mercury.
ERSI Recycling recycles both PCB and Non PCB ballasts.
Ballasts come in all shapes, sizes and weights. Fluorescent lights use either a PCB or Non PCB ballast. Their function is to maintain a constant current through the electrical system and they are normally mounted on the light fixture between the fluorescent tubes and are protected by a metal cover plate. Ballast may have some written notification to indicate that they are non PCB ballasts. In the absence of any written indication consider the ballast PCB especially if Manufactures prior to 1979. You should find an impression on the back of the ballast with the two digit date of manufacturing.
Lamps/Ballasts We Recycle
- Straight Fluorescent
- Shielded/Coated/Jacketed Fluorescents
- Powder Fluorescent
- Groove Fluorescent
- HID/Metal Halide
- Low Pressure Sodium
- High Pressure Sodium
- Mercury Vapor
- Incandescent & Flood Lamps (Non-HG Lamps):
- Non- PCB