You can drop off your Fluorescent Tubes Free of Charge at the Jindabyne and Cooma Landfills and these will be collected and removed from the Landfill through the Community Recycling Centres.
Residents of Bombala and surrounding areas can dispose these tubes and lamps at the Annual Household Chemical CleanOut.
Why Recycle Fluorescent Tubes?
Mercury-containing lamps are the single largest category of products that contain mercury and a significant percentage of waste mercury-containing lamps end up in landfill each year. Mercury-containing lamps can be recycled to recover the mercury as well as the glass, plastic and phosphor powder they contain.
Mercury-containing lamps include everything from the small compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) used mostly in homes to the fluorescent tubes commonly used in offices and high intensity discharge (HID) lamps used for street lighting and sports grounds. Small amounts of elemental mercury are essential for the operation of these lamps.
Generally, the higher the power usage, the more mercury that is required to operate the lamp. Mercury-containing lamps include:
HID lamps, such as mercury vapour lamps used for street lighting, which contain between 50 and 1000 milligrams (mg) of mercury
Linear fluorescent tubes, as used in most commercial and public buildings, which are required by an Australian standard to contain less than 15 mg
CFLs used mostly in homes, which are required by an Australian Standard to have a maximum of 5 mg
Some neon tubes, as used in signs.
Using CFLs releases less mercury into the environment than using incandescent light bulbs. This is because burning coal to produce electricity releases mercury. CFLs use only about 20 per cent of the electricity that incandescent bulbs use to produce the same amount of light, therefore requiring less electricity to be generated. The result is that use of CFLs releases about 80 per cent less mercury than incandescent light bulbs.
Broken Lamps or Tubes
Mercury is a potent neurotoxin and exposure should be avoided where possible. The short-term nature of the potential exposure to mercury from a broken CFL or fluorescent tube – particularly after effective clean-up of lamp material – does not constitute a significant health risk to exposed adults, pregnant women or children.
Disposal of Mercury-containing Lamps and Tubes
Waste disposal and handling is primarily a state and local government responsibility in Australia. Landfill disposal of large amounts of mercury-containing lamps such as those generated by businesses, institutions, or councils is forbidden in some states.
Residents can now drop off the following household problem waste items FREE OF CHARGE, helping to minimise our community's impact on the environment at Jindabyne Landfill and Cooma Landfill and Bombala Landfill's Community Recycling Centres.
For more information, please visit Community Recycling Centres website by clicking on the link.
An alternative to landfill disposal is taking mercury-containing lamps to specialty recyclers who are able to safely recover not only the mercury, but also the glass, phosphor and aluminium contained in the lamps. Recovered mercury is commonly sold to the dental industry, where it is used in amalgam for fillings. A number of companies provide mercury-containing lamp recycling services in Australia.
Most lamp recyclers collect large quantities of lamps from capital cities and selected regional areas for transport to a mercury-recycling facility. CFLs and tubes can also be posted to recyclers in special purpose containers.