So often when Best Practice Lighting work on a job we are asked what we do with the waste from a project and as individuals is it ok just to put them in the recycling bin?
As an organisation our policy is to sort, dispose and recycle. All rubbish is brought back to our offices where we sort the cardboard and paper, waste, and separate out batteries and any items with hazardous chemicals or components. Once this process is complete what we can recycle or is waste is taken to the local waste and recycling depot and all hazardous items are taken to hazardous waste depot (CMA).
Our Responsibility As Individuals
As individuals it is also important for us to dispose of our old lamps appropriately. The most logical choice would be the recycling bin (the one that takes glass, metal and paper/cardboard). With globes and lights however, it is not that simple. Light bulbs and other lights should never go into our household recycling bins. The glass itself is manufactured differently from normal household glass it is prone to shatter and often have hazardous chemicals and components such as mercury lead and arsenic that if not disposed of correctly will leach into the environment which is hazardous to both the environment and to us as humans.
Both incandescent and Halogen globes should be wrapped in paper and put into general waste. Compact fluorescent and fluorescent tubes should never be thrown into landfill because as they contain mercury. All fluorescent-based bulbs should be taken to the nearest recycling or waste disposal centers for safe disposal.
LED bulbs have many advantages over other luminaires, and the more recent LEDs have interchangeable parts which means when a chip or driver fail you do not need to dispose of the complete unit which means less product into landfill. Disposal of LED’s is less clear cut than their counterparts, many just throw them in general waste. LED globes may contain traces of hazardous substances such as lead in the solder (this is minimal but still is a consideration). As LED bulbs are made of valuable materials which can be recycled, recycling is the better option rather than throwing them out and potentially damaging the environment.
Where Can I Recycle My Luminaire
There are numerous recycling and waste disposal centers in Australia. Here are some options to get you started:
Your local council drop off facilities, Retailer Ikea recycling drop-off points, Private waste companies
For more option search Recycling Near You to search for all available recycling or waste disposal centers.
So please, be environmentally aware and dispose of your lights appropriately.