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.
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 rescribed 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 regulations.
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 fluorescent 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 with the mecury being reused in industry.
6. Storage & Collection
Interwaste provides a range of purpose built storage options from cardboard boxes through to front load bins (depending upon volumes). All containers are designed to eliminate the necessity to break lamps, and thus prevent the 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 firstname.lastname@example.org for a pick up and replacement bins.
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 the 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.