February 12, 2016
Have you ever found yourself wondering what to do with a broken fluorescent light bulb? Their mercury content can be dangerous, so follow our guide to safely cleaning them up
Cleaning Up Broken Fluorescent Globes
If you’ve ever found yourself standing in front of a broken compact fluorescent or fluorescent tube, worried about the mercury being released from it and how to best clean it up, then you're in the right place.
First of all, don't panic. Follow this step-by-step guide to help you have a lightbulb moment when dealing with broken fluorescent globes.
As soon as possible after the break, open all the doors and windows to let the room air out and get the following items ready - some paper or cardboard, disposable gloves, sticky tape or a damp cloth or slice of bread, a disposable brush and a glass jar with a lid.
These tips have been adapted from a guide from ZeroWaste SA
Recycling light globes and compact fluoros
For light globes and fluorescent bulbs that are still intact, the best method of disposale depends on the type of globe.
Fluorescent tubes, compact fluoros (CFLs), HIDs, and metal halides contain mercury so need to be recycled either through council, commercial or community programs. In South Australia they are actually banned from landfill! If you live in SA, NSW, VIC or TAS, there are specific programs for safe disposal and recycling.
Incandescent globes and halogens can be recycled through some of these programs or can simply be wrapped in paper and disposed of in the garbage bin. They are made from low value and non-toxic materials which make their recycling very difficult.
Visit http://recyclingnearyou.com.au/light-globes/ for more information for your local area.
For an easy way to recycle your spent tubes and globes that contain mercury, look into Ezy-Return Recycling Products. The Planet Ark office has a box for staff to fill up with their globes from home, ensuring the process is fuss-free. It's an easy way to collect and manage the end life of these every day products.
Rebecca worked at the Daily and Sunday Telegraph before joining Planet Ark’s media and PR team in 2015 till 2016.