Large corporations including CBS and Macy’s Inc. have been just a few of the groups penalized as the EPA and state environmental agencies crack down on improper disposal of mercury-containing compact fluorescent lamps (CFL). In addition to imposing fines for violators, the companies are required to provide public education.
In the case of CBS, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation required the network to air a public service announcement on the Late Show With David Letterman’s Web site. The PSA discusses the benefits of CFLs as well as proper disposal techniques.
CFLs have received endorsement from the EPA and Department of Energy for their longer life and energy efficiency. But each bulb contains as much as 5 milligrams of mercury, which has already led nine different states to ban them from landfills.
The bulbs are accepted for recycling at Home Depot and IKEA locations and are often included as part of community household hazardous waste collection programs. Furthermore, at least one bulb manufacturer is offering a mail-in recycling kit as part of the original packaging.
“There is adequate recycling capacity and a network of lamp and mercury recyclers across the country that can help large and small generators set up a compliant recycling program,” says Paul Abernathy of the Association of Lighting and Mercury Recyclers.