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Disposal of lamps containing mercury!

Posted by Trefin Margerison on August 16, 2014 at 3:00 AM

Disposal of lamps containing mercury!

Lamps containing mercury are the largest category of products which hold a significant percentage of waste of murcury, which polutute landfil;l sites each year in Victoria.

Lamps containing mercury are able to be successfully recycled, with the glass, plastic and phosphor powder contained within them.

Lamps with Mercury in them

Lamps containing mercury within them includesmall compact flourescent lamps, which are comon in domestic houses and offices in the form of flourescent tubes being the most common. Street lighting and sports grounds use high intensity discharge lamps, where small amounts of elemental mercury is essential for the operation of these types of lights.

With lamps containing mercury, the larger the usage of power the light source requires, the more mercury will be used to operate the lamp.

Lamps containing mercury include: -

  • HID lamps, for street lighting - mercury vapour lamps conbtain between 50 - 1000 milligrams of mercury
  • linear flourescent tubes are used in commercial and public buildings and contain less than 15 mg
  • CFL's are required by Australian Standards to have a maximum of 5mg, these lamps are mainly used in domestic homes
  • some neon tubes which are used in signs 

Here is a cool fact: -

Using CFL's is better for our enviroment when compared to using incandescent light bulbs. This is due to electricity being produced using coalreleases mercury!

CFL's only use 20% of the electricity of an incadescent bulb uses to produce the same amount of light, therefore less elctricity is required to be generated.

The end results are amazing, CFL's release approxametely 80% less mercuyry than incandescent light bulbs. 

Disposing of Lamps Containing Mercury

Disposing of large amounts of lamps containing mercury such as street lamps, and those generated from business and industry in Australia. Is forbidden in most states and councils to be deposited in landfill sites. 

Broken Lamps

You should avoid being exposed to mercury as it is a neurotoxin, so avoid where possible. Although short term exposure to a broken CFL or flourescent tube is not a sigmnificant health risk to exposed adults, children or pregnant weomen.

Specialty recyclers

There are specialty recyclers who will recycle and safely recover the mercury but also the glass, phosphor and aluminium contained within the lamps, which is a great alternative to disposal of these types of mercury lamps into landfill sites.

A lot of the mercury recovered by the specialist recyclers of lamps is sold to the dental industry and is used in amalgam for fillings. 

Information source

http/www.environment.gov.au/protection/national-waste-policy/mercury-containing-lamps 

Categories: Waste Disposal Melbourne