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Maintenance / Technology
September 2013 Facility Focus

Properly Disposing Of Used Lighting

Knowing how to handle the disposal of lighting implements is not only prudent, it’s the law.

September 11, 2013
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Shifting Technology

Fluorescent Powder

While LFL and CFL technology continues to advance; newer, more efficient lighting technologies are under development.

Improvements in current LFL/CFL technology includes improving the fluorescent powders used in lighting.

These increase efficiency and operational characteristics making them more acceptable in all applications.

These powders contain several Rare Earth Elements (REEs).

These REEs have increased in value both strategically — as a need for military applications and in use by our federal government — as well as a resource for other lighting and display applications built by U.S. industry.

Making recycling a common practice helps ensure strategic supplies of these REEs will remain available for new products.

Hg Content

Lamp dosing technologies and methods have greatly improved.

This allows for greater precision in the amounts of mercury introduced into lamps allowing manufacturers to ensure more uniform production and overall characteristics.

Lamp recyclers continue to keep a closed-loop on the mercury needed for lamps produced domestically as well as finding uses for the glass and aluminum from spent lamps.

The emerging market for REEs improves the market for recycling, but this has not yet transferred into profit for recyclers.

As a result, the ability to recycle lamps requires some cost assistance.

At least for the time being, or until a solution is put into place requiring no-fee recycling as we are seeing in some states — including Maine and Washington — building managers should look for recycling options.

Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs)

LEDs hold great promise once a few issues are resolved.

Content issues still indicated some levels of toxic elements in production of LEDs currently found in the marketplace.

Problems associated with the use of lead solder as well as small amounts of some toxic metals internal to the LED are being addressed by the lighting industry.

But, the amounts and types of materials they contain have become more valuable resulting in greater value to consumers and regulators alike for managing them through recycling instead of as waste.

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