Yonkers launches fluorescent bulb recycling
Under the terms of an enforcement agreement with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the City of Yonkers has initiated a program to recycle fluorescent light bulbs, as well as light ballasts and electronic waste, known as E-waste. Fluorescent bulbs contain mercury, which can be released if the bulbs are broken. By collecting and recycling these bulbs from city residents, Yonkers will be helping to reduce the release of mercury to the environment.
In 2008, EPA inspected various buildings belonging to Yonkers and requested documentation regarding the city’s spent bulb recycling efforts. After the city did not adequately respond, EPA cited the city for violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the federal law governing the treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste.
Agency regulations require that spent mercury and other toxic metal-containing bulbs from business, industry and government be handled as hazardous waste, which means they must be disposed of in specially licensed facilities. As an alternative, they can be handled under simpler universal waste rules to encourage their recycling.