With over 300 million compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) purchased in the U.S. since 2006, it is clear Americans have caught on to the money and energy savings offered by the bulbs. The disposal of these bulbs, on the other hand, remains an issue for most consumers. Most of these bulbs are landfilled at their end of life, where they can release mercury vapor into the environment.
One project aims to answer the consumer demand for CFL recycling with a free community-based nationwide recycling program. The Green Action Project (G.A.P.), sponsored by NLR, Inc., a leading waste recycler of lamps, electronic waste, batteries and mercury devices, offers free CFL recycling to non-profit organizations, schools, community organizations and events.
Organizations that can demonstrate a need for CFL recycling and the willingness to use program in terms of environmental awareness, green action, sustainability efforts or community projects, can apply to receive the ComPak CFL Recycling Center at no cost. ComPak is the nation’s first completely self-contained and self-service recycling center designed to meet the growing needs of CFL recycling.
How It Works
The Com-Pak recycling center is shipped to qualified applicants free of charge. The center is designed to hold up to 180 CFLs in an environmentally safe container and comes with two recycling containers, two liners and FedEx return labels. Once the container is full, the assigned location manager contacts FedEx for pick-up, which will ship the CFLs to NLR for recycling. CFLs are recycled within 24 hours at NLR’s Connecticut facility, whereupon the organization will receive a Certificate of Green Recycling.
Why Recycle CFLs?
CFLs contain approximately 4 milligrams of mercury each. Though 4 milligrams is a relatively small amount, the amount of mercury from the estimated 300 million CFLs sold in the U.S. since 2006 would equate to .15 metric tons of mercury! Put another way, it only takes one teaspoon of mercury to contaminate a 100-acre body of water.