May 2008

Pennsylvania launches campaign to improve fluorescent light recycling

Additional fluorescent bulb recycling programs are necessary.

To help spur the use of compact fluorescent light bulbs, or CFLs, and make it easier for the public to recycle the bulbs, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is providing receptacles to municipalities, small businesses and community organizations across the state hoping the experience will lead participants to continue with their own programs.

Compact fluorescent light bulbs sales have increased nationwide, but some consumers are hesitant to purchase the energy efficient bulbs because they are not sure how to dispose of them properly. Pennsylvania encourages consumers to recycle CFLs whenever possible, and in order to make recycling more convenient and accessible, DEP has launched a recycling campaign in partnership with local governments across the state.

The department is partnering with 43 counties, townships, environmental groups and small businesses statewide in setting up CFL collection programs.

More than 110 containers were purchased from Pennsylvania firms AERC Recycling, based in Allentown, and Hellertown, Northampton County-based, Bethlehem Apparatus Company. Both companies shipped the receptacles directly to the participants for use in conjunction with Earth Day and other hazardous household waste collection events.

The AERC containers will hold 100-150 bulbs, and the Bethlehem Apparatus containers will hold slightly less than 100.

Once the containers are filled, participants will ship the receptacles back to AERC or Bethlehem Apparatus for the physical recycling.

DEP invited counties, municipal governments, environmental groups and other organizations to host CFL recycling containers in publicly accessible buildings. To recycle a bulb, a consumer simply needs to hand it over to a trained employee, who slides it into the container.