Author: Zo Zhou
Some major Victorian organisations have been recognised for their participation in the fluorescent light recycling program FluoroCycle, which ensures harmful mercury is kept out of the environment. Currently many fluorescent lights end up in landfill and they are the most significant source of mercury contamination of all the waste Australia produces. By recycling these light bulbs, mercury can be recovered for reuse in the dental industry as amalgam for fillings. The glass, phosphor and aluminium contained in the lamps can also be effectively recovered for reuse, thus saving valuable resources.
National Australia Bank, the Malthouse Theatre, RMIT University, University of Melbourne and Transurban are amongst the 200 organisations signed up around Australia. Electricity distributors CitiPower and Powercor in particular make a huge difference: "Together these utilities service 185,000 street lights for 49 municipal councils and VicRoads. Every year, they replace and recycle 35,000 street lamps. Not only does this sector use a large number of mercury-containing lamps, each lamp can contain up to 200 mg of mercury - more than 10 times the amount found in a fluorescent light in a typical office building. With these utilities, along with four others around Australia, now committed to recycling 100% of waste lamps, a significant amount of mercury is being diverted from landfill." - The Hon Amanda Rishworth MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water.
FluoroCycle is delivered by Lighting Council Australia and the Australian Government on behalf of the Australian, state and territory environment ministers. It is a priority initiative under Australia's National Waste Policy.
Find out more about recycling fluorescent light globes or search BusinessRecycling.com.au for one of the 331 recycling drop off locations and collection services for fluorescent lights listed nationwide (search under the "lighting" category). You can also call the BusinessRecycling hotline on 1300 763 768.