launches fluorescent bulb recycling
Under the terms of an enforcement agreement
with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),
the City of Yonkers has initiated a program to recycle fluorescent
light bulbs, as well as light ballasts and electronic waste,
known as E-waste. Fluorescent bulbs contain mercury, which can
be released if the bulbs are broken. By collecting and recycling
these bulbs from city residents, Yonkers will be helping to reduce
the release of mercury to the environment.
In 2008, EPA inspected various buildings belonging to Yonkers
and requested documentation regarding the city’s spent bulb recycling
efforts. After the city did not adequately respond, EPA cited
the city for violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery
Act, the federal law governing the treatment, storage, and disposal
of hazardous waste.
Agency regulations require that spent mercury and other toxic
metal-containing bulbs from business, industry and government
be handled as hazardous waste, which means they must be disposed
of in specially licensed facilities. As an alternative, they
can be handled under simpler universal waste rules to encourage
Under the terms of the settlement, Yonkers will begin collecting
spent fluorescent bulbs, light ballasts and e-waste from Yonkers
residents. The city will widely publicize the program.