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Mercury Lights

What Consumers Need To Know

The 2010 law, Mercury-Containing Lights - proper disposal ( Chapter 70.275 RCW) establishes a producer-financed product stewardship program for the collection, recycling, and disposal of mercury-containing lights. The amended law (refer to Engrossed Substitute House Bill 2246) requires the producers to finance the stewardship program through an environmental handling charge added to all mercury-containing lights sold at retail in the state. This program must be operating by January 1, 2015. All persons, government, commercial, industrial, retail facilities, and office buildings must recycle their mercury-containing lights. As incandescent lights are phased off the store shelves, mercury-containing lighting will be more commonly used in households. These lights are more energy efficient than incandescent lights.

Mercury-containing lights must not be placed in the garbage.

Why should I be concerned?

When broken, mercury lights release toxic mercury to the air, which accumulates in our environment. When a mercury-containing light bulb breaks some of the mercury is immediately released to the air. The health impacts from mercury exposure are explained on the Department of Health mercury page.

If you do break a mercury-containing light, follow these instructions for cleanup and ventilation.

When and how does the product stewardship affect me?

After January 1, 2015, the producer-funded recycling program will be available for anyone returning less than 10 light bulbs on any given day. This includes single-family and multi-family households as well as small businesses, non-profits, or other legal entities recycling lights purchased at retail. There will be no charge at the drop off location. The cost of collecting, transporting, and recycling of the mercury-containing lights will be covered by an environmental handling charge added to the purchase price.

Where can I recycle my lights today?

Visit 1800RECYCLE to search for options on the database, select "Miscellaneous" under the Recyclable Material category to find "Fluorescent Lights."

Visit www.earth911.org to find mercury-containing light recycling services in your area.

For more information about mercury-containing lights visit www.lamprecycle.org