Washington Dept. of Ecology LightRecycle program recycles nearly 1 million lights in first year
“People in Washington got the LightRecycle program off to a strong start, but there are a lot of mercury-containing lights still out there,” LightRecycle Washington Program Manager Peter Thermos said. “We’ll keep looking for ways to expand the program and let people know that it’s important to properly recycle fluorescent lights.”
Fluorescent tubes, CFLs, HID lamps and some other types of lighting contain mercury, a toxic heavy metal. While the lights contain only a small amount of the metal, the combined amount in non-recycled lights can be harmful to the environment. The lights are not always recycled, as many people do not know that they contain mercury — a 2015 survey commissioned by LightRecycle showed that only half of the state’s residents were aware of the metal.
Ecology created LightRecycle to allow residents to more easily recycle their lights. The program offers individuals and businesses 220 collection sites throughout the state, where they can recycle up to 10 lights per day. In 2015, Washingtonians recycled just under 990,000 lights, topping the 1 million mark in early 2016.