New light bulb law feeds recycling industry

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by GARY CHITTIM / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @gchittimK5

KING5.com

Posted on February 4, 2013 at 6:52 PM

Updated Monday, Feb 4 at 8:50 PM

SEATTLE - Washington State's new light bulb and tube recycling law is a month old and a local company is looking for ways to make recycling easier.

All Washington State businesses are now required to recycle their mercury-containing bulbs.
Most are sending them to a growing operation in Seattle's Georgetown neighborhood.

Workers in respirators and overalls feed the tubes and bulbs into a big green machine that chews them up, separates the glass from the metal and the sucks up the mercury containing powder.

Every bit of it is recycled. The metal goes to aluminum recyclers, the glass is ground up and used to make cement and other products and the mercury is used to make more bulbs.

The machine chomps down 4 million bulbs a year, which is only a fraction of what's out there. Most of the bulbs end up in landfills, where they can leach out the toxic mercury.

The new law has improved that situation and EcoLights offers several programs to make it easier. They send empty boxes to smaller companies, which can fill them up with spent bulbs and send it back, they provide large cannisters for big companies to fill up and they will pick them up. Several stores will also take your old bulbs and send them off for you.

More information

King County Take it Back Network recyclers

Ecolights Fluorescent Lamp Recycling

Washington light bulb recycling law

 

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