Sydney Opera House Recycles Its Lamps, Old Mines Leak Mercury And Other Mercury News

It’s great to see that the Sydney Opera House has joined the FluoroCycle program and will recycle its fluorescent lights. The Opera House is just one of several organisations to sign up for the program, and their actions will help to keep substantial amounts of mercury out of the environment.

A recent article on Sustainable Suburbia points out that old-style incandescent light bulbs can have a mercury “footprint” greater than that of equivalent fluoro lamps. Coal-fired power stations can emit mercury, with the amount of mercury released in powering incandescent globes exceeding the combined mercury content of a compact fluorescent lamp and the emissions associated with powering it. Of course, recycling the fluorescent lamp allows its mercury component to be recovered, providing a much better overall result.

On a completely different topic, the ABC’s 7.30 Victoria aired a program on mercury from old gold mine tailings leaching into the Goulburn River water catchment.  The program contains claims that 24 of Victoria’s 29 river basins are similarly contaminated.

It is estimated that 20-50 million tonnes of electronic waste is generated each year, with mercury representing just one of a range of hazards. Unfortunately, much of this waste is transported to countries with low or non-existent occupational health standards. It’s a problem best dealt with close to source by organisations with the proper processes and equipment to ensure safe handling and processing.

The European Union has just introduced new rules for handling e-waste, seeking to raise the collection target to 85% of annual waste by 2019. Australia already has similar targets in place.

News & Media

Related News

How your workplace can run its own e-waste recycling scheme

E-waste impact continues to grow

Without a doubt the impact of e-waste continues to grow with its significant impact on the environment.     Indeed, only 12% of the nation’s computers are recycled. At this time, Australia is the fourth highest generator of e-waste per capita in the world.  Poorly managed e-waste means heavy metals and hazardous waste such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and brominated flame retardants leak into the environment.  Clearly, the risks of data leaks are also increased if the device’s storage aren’t carefully treated.

Mercury Batch distiller

Managing Mercury Risk

Managing mercury risk is an important issue for many Australian industrial companies.  Mercury causes very harmful and lasting health impacts due to its toxicity.  The