How Fluorescent Tubes Are Recovered By A Lamp Recycler
June 11, 2015
Disposing of fluorescent tubes, lamps and bulbs is a particular concern as they contain the highly toxic metal, mercury.
At any given moment there are billions of light globes and fluorescent tubes lighting up our lives, but old light bulbs and tubes eventually give up the ghost and create a mountain of waste. Fortunately, lamp recycling is not only possible; it’s also highly desirable. That’s where Ecocycle comes in.
The Fluorescent Lamp Recycling Process
Even today, with all our knowledge of the hazards posed by mercury, such as the deadly minamata disease, most fluorescent lighting waste is dumped in landfill. From there, the mercury leaks into our environment and can even end up in our food. So safely recycling fluorescent bulbs and tubes needs to be done by experienced and licenced lamp recyclers.
But lamp recycling is about more than just mercury. With our specialist light recycling equipment we also recover metals such as aluminium, glass, phosphor powder and, depending on the type of lamp, plastic.
Fluoro tube recycling needs to happen within an enclosed environment because of the mercury they contain. With our state of the art system, tubes and globes go into one end of our state of the art lighting processing plant and the separated components come out the other.
Crushed and Separated
First, the globes are crushed and non-hazardous materials are removed. Aluminium is the main metal recovered through tube recycling. It’s a commodity metal in high demand, and can end up in anything from soft drink cans to aeroplanes.
Glass is the next item recovered. It’s highly recyclable, and the glass we recover from the recycling of fluorescent tubes goes back to industry. That’s a double win for the environment.
Things get tricky with the phosphor powder. It contains most of the mercury and its recovery and treatment is one of the most important steps in fluorescent lamp recycling. Once it has been separated from the other components, it goes into one of our distillers. As the phosphor powder is heated, the mercury turns into a vapour which is then condensed to produce pure metal. The mercury we recover is used in industry. The phosphor powder, now without its burden of mercury, can be used to make new fluorescent tubes and/or recycled further to remove additional rare earth metals.
Responsible Disposal of Fluorescent Lights
It’s pretty clear that recycling lamps and tubes offers many benefits. Mercury is kept out of the environment and our food supply, and valuable materials are recovered for reuse. If we all keep this in mind when disposing of fluorescent bulbs, the world will be all the better for it. It’s down to each of us to ensure that our fluorescent lamps and tubes, and other types of lighting, are safely recycled.
Ecocycle Is A Full Service Lamp Recycler
Once you’re committed to recycling lamps the next step is to choose a lamp recycler. Ecocycle provides a full recycling service from supply of boxes and stillages, through to pick-up and provision of recycling certificates.
So why not give us a call, or fill out the form below to get in contact with us –your lamp recycling experts.