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Fluorescent Lighting
Effects of
fact sheet


InterWaste is the only company in New Zealand offering a zero-to-landfill 100% recycling service for all forms of mercury lamps. Fluorescent lamps contain mercury, a highly toxic waste, which, if disposed of irresponsibly can pollute waterways and damage the environment.

InterWaste provides an easy and effective service of fluorescent lamp disposal in order to ensure compliance with New Zealand regulation.

The disposal of mercury in New Zealand is tightly regulated. Mercury containing lamps are considered a hazardous waste when the concentration of mercury exceeds 0.2mg/l. Most lamps (weighing between 200-300g) contain between 0.3 – 20mgs of mercury. Therefore, New Zealand regulation ensures that lamps sent to landfill are minimised.

In order to ensure our customers safety we provide specialty bins to safely store fluorescent tubes in order to minimise risk of mercury exposure.

Our range of bins include:

FT100 holds approx 100 tubes
FT50 holds approx 50 tubes
CFL Box compact fluorescent lamp box for small tubes and lamps



r e c y c l i n g   p r o c e s s

Interwaste has formed a partnership with  CMA Eco Cycle in order to provide New Zealand with the only zero-to-landfill option for the disposal of fluorescent lighting.

In order to recycle the tubes they are first crushed, the elements are separated, and mercury is recovered. All products are then distilled and recycled into by-products.

Marketable by-products include:
•  Aluminium from tube ends is recycled into cast products such as ingot used for foundry application.
•  Glass from lamps are separated and recycled into the glass wool used to insulate homes.
•  Mercury is distilled from separated powders and then re-used in the manufacture of dental amalgam.
•  Phosphor powder from the tubes is used for the manufacture of fertiliser products and sold to New Zealand and Australian agriculture industries.

See the Ministry for the Environment website for the benefits of using fluorescent bulbs:


e f f e c t s   o f   m e r c u r y
 Electronic Waste Recycling


1. Why recycle?

Studies suggest that mercury from lamps can impact water quality when lamps are broken in skips and landfills. When broken

lamps are exposed to moisture from rain or groundwater they leak and mercury enters the environment. Once deposited, certain

micro-organisms can change mercury into methylmercury, a highly toxic form that builds up in seafood and animals that eat fish.

Please see our leaflets for more detail

2. What are the NZ Regulations?

‘Fluorescent lights contain mercury ….. The contents of the tubes should be removed by an approved operator, prior to

disposal.’ Waste Acceptance Criteria Class A Land Fills – MfE


Lamps and other mercury containing waste are hazardous wastes (NZ Waste List) and the disposal of mercury to landfill is

tightly regulated in terms of current Landfill Waste Acceptance Criteria (LWAC). Spent mercury-containing lamps are considered

hazardous when the concentration of mercury exceeds 0.2mg/l (in a prescribed solubility test known as the TCLP). Most lamps

(weighing 200g-300g) contain between 3mg – 20mg mercury which means that nearly all lamps that are land-filled should be

carefully monitored.

It is the generator of the wastes responsibility to ensure that their waste products are disposed of in accordance with relevant


3. What types of lights contain mercury?

All fluorescent lamps including compact fluorescents


While modern fluorescent lapms contain greatly reduced amounts of mercury compared with their predecessors, all fluorescnet lamps, including 'environmentally friendly' lamps contain mercury


High-intensity discharge (HID) lamps and metal halide globes


4. What are the current disposal alternatives?

Nearly all lamp waste in New Zealand is currently being disposed in an environmentally unsound manner (ie; dumped in the skip

/ land-filled), largely because there has been no safe alternative.

Interwaste is the only company in New Zealand currently offering a full and 100% zero-to-landfill recycling service for

FL and HID lamps.

5. Interwaste`s Zero-to-Landfill recycling for FL & HID lamps?

Interwaste introduced a ‘zero to landfill’ recycling service for all forms of mercury lamps in 2005. All component parts of the lamp

are recycled. The service is run in conjunction with Eco Cycle Industries in Australia who process crushed lamp waste provided

by Interwaste for reuse in industry.

6. Storage & Collection

Interwaste provides a range of purpose built storage options form cardboard boxes through to front load bins (depending upon

volumes). All containers are designed to eliminate the necessity to break lamps, and thus prevent danger of worker's being

exposed to escaped mercury vapour.

Bin sizes range from 100 lamps to 1000 lamps and can be provided directly to customers or their electrical contractors.

Interwaste offers a nationwide direct collection service and can arrange for regular collections on an ‘as needed’ basis. Once

bins are full, customers call 0800-4FLUORO or email for a pick up and replacement bins.

7. Pricing

Given the wide variety of lamps used by customers, we charge by the “fluoro box” of which we have several sizes to accomodate each type of lamp.

Visit Shop on our web page for further information regarding how many lamps each box will hold, and which type of lamp. The prices indicated at our Shop cover all costs of the box provision, collection, and local processing, shipping and recycling.

8. How do you know lamps are being recycled?

Recycling/Disposal certificates are provided for all lamp waste and all processes are documented and auditable.


Our Location
  • Services include:
  • Nationwide network of sites and vehicles
  • An advanced tracking system for quality assurance
  • Fluorescent Tube Disposal
  • Dental Amalgam
  • X-Ray & Photographic Film and Fluid
  • Medical Waste
  • Sharps Waste
  • Pharmaceutical Waste
  • Quarantine Waste
  • Secure Destruction