Recycling of broken or damaged lamps is an activity that should never be ignored. When lamps are disposed of and not recycled, they tend to release several hazardous waste materials into the environment that later end up destroying human and animal life. Some of these lamps contain mercury. When materials containing mercury are released into water bodies, several living organisms such as aquatic plants and animals die due to the toxic compound.
Therefore once damaged, lamps should be kept and handed over to companies that carry out the recycling process, to ensure that the environment remains safe and free from hazardous materials.
Mercury is an essential component of fluorescent lamps, with its amount ranging from 3 to 46mg in every fluorescent lamp. The lamps currently produced have low mercury content and produce a much lower intensity of visible light. The internal parts of lamps absorb mercury, so enough mercury has to be present in order to be absorbed, and to ensure a high intensity of light is produced.
When a light bulb breaks, the way it is cleaned up is much different from when a fluorescent tube breaks. When cleaning up glass bulbs, vacuum cleaners can be used to recover all the broken particles, but a sticky tape is usually employed to clean up fluorescent lamps because the escape of a very small glass particle from the fluorescent tube is dangerous.
If a fluorescent tube that doesn’t function anymore is released into the environment, the toxic compound, mercury contained in it can only be reduced by addition of Sulphur, converting it to mercury sulfide which is not soluble in water, therefore preventing its spread. Sulfur is very cheap to purchase and easy to mix with mercury. To make mercury lamps lose their toxicity, make a pile of all the lamps and cover them up with sulfur dust. To recycle the lamp, there must be a good facility responsible for it which isn’t so common.
The Fluorescent & Mercury Lamp Recycling process involves crushing the lamps and separating them using a continuous vacuum filtration process into their various elements. Each of these elements is then used to carry out other purposes. The four elements that can be gotten from fluorescent bulbs include glass, metals, phosphor powders, and mercury. The mercury is used to make new lamps.
There are several reasons why lamp recycling is so important. Below are some of the benefits of recycling your fluorescent lamps which contain mercury.
1. Health concerns
With the wrong disposal of fluorescent lamps and light bulbs into landfills, mercury can find their way through the pile and into the groundwater which is linked to the wells supplying tap water to houses. If not treated before drinking, individuals will consume this mercury and this may lead to several health problems due to the toxicity.
2. Avoiding waste
Since the raw materials found in light bulbs can be reused for different purposes, disposing of the bulbs is equivalent to destroying new materials for building these lamps. Recycling will provide more quality lamps at low cost.
3. Landfill space
With an excessive increase in the amount of waste generated by individuals, landfills are getting too filled up. Disposing lamp bulbs, no matter how small, are taking up landfill space that could be used for other disposable items.
Every individual should ensure that waste disposal is always examined and materials that can be recycled such as these lamps are taken out.