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- Lamps that are not waste because they have not been discarded or that are not hazardous waste are not universal wastes.
- Lamps must be recycled within one year.
- Recycling costs vary, depending on the type of lamp, quantities and whether transportation is included.
40 CFR 273.9 defines a lamp as the bulb or tube portion of an electric lighting device. A lamp is specifically designed to produce radiant energy most often in the ultraviolet, visible, and infra-red regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. Lamps that are not waste because they have not been discarded or that are not hazardous waste are not universal wastes.
Examples of common universal waste electric lamps include, but are not limited to:
- High-intensity discharge;
- Mercury vapor;
- High-pressure sodium; and
- Metal halide lamps.
Safely handle and store used fluorescent lamps
Lamps should be stored in a way that avoids breakage. Containers must be closed, structurally sound, compatible with the contents of the lamps and must lack evidence of leakage, spillage, or damage that could cause leakage or releases of mercury or other hazardous constituents. Fluorescent lamps can be stored in the original boxes or in boxes from replacement bulbs. Specially manufactured containers can be purchased for storing used lamps until they are ready for recycling. The lamp recycler may also provide a container that makes storage, shipping, or pick-up easier.
Do not tape lamps together or use rubber bands. Close and securely seal boxes/containers with tape. Three-inch PVC (polyvinyl chloride – plastic insulating tape) tape is recommended. Store boxes/containers in a dry place. Make sure there is cooperation with the recycler to fully understand proper procedures for filling and securing boxes or containers of lamps. Label boxes/containers with one of the following: “Universal Waste-Lamp(s),” “Waste Lamp(s),” or “Used Lamp(s).” Lamps must be recycled within one year.
It's important to protect lamps from breakage. Remove lamps carefully and store used lamps in a location and manner that will prevent breakage.
Certificate of Recycling
A “Certificate of Recycling” is the recycler’s certification of, typically, the total weight of material received on a particular date and confirmation that it was processed in accordance with state and federal regulations. Maintain this paperwork on file so that if any questions are raised about the disposal of the waste lamps, it can be verified that they were recycled according to the Universal Waste Rule.
Recycling costs vary, depending on the type of lamp, quantities and whether transportation is included. It is best to call for at least three quotes. The following price ranges are typical:
- Tubes – 4 cents to 12 cents per linear foot
- High intensity discharges – $1.50 - $2.00
- Compact fluorescent lamps – 50 cents - $1.00
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