Councilmember Bruce Harrell
Councilmember Nick Licata
RETURN YOUR BOOKS, RECYCLE YOUR CFLS
Councilmembers Bruce Harrell and Nick Licata to Explore CFL Recycling at Seattle Libraries
SEATTLE — As a means of reducing uncontained Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs in our landfills, City Councilmembers Bruce Harrell and Nick Licata are exploring the possibility of placing environmentally safe drop boxes at all 27 Seattle Public Library locations to make it more convenient for citizens to dispose of their CFLs. The boxes would have a special liner that would prevent mercury leakage.
Councilmember Harrell says, “My goal is to take advantage of the fact that most citizens know the location of their neighborhood public library, which would not only make the disposal of CFLs easier for our citizens, but also help the City forego the expense of purchasing new disposal sites.” Citizens can currently dispose used CFLs at certain retailers, City Light service locations and City or County transfer stations that accept hazardous waste.
Since 2006, more than 300 million Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs have been purchased in our country. In addition, Seattle City Light recently announced that its “Twist and Save” program has garnered sales of over 1 million CFLs locally. The number of people using CFLs will continue to rise as the U.S. Congress passed the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA), which lays out performance thresholds that incandescent bulbs simply do not meet. As Federal regulations are imposed, the use of CFLs will continue to increase, and we will soon be faced with a new problem—proper disposal. CFL bulbs contain a small amount of mercury that prohibits tossing them into the trash. Throwing them away in an uncontained manner creates a situation where the mercury seeps into the soil and eventually into the groundwater. “I want to be proactive,” states Councilmember Harrell.
In 2012, when the first wave of banning inefficient incandescent bulbs takes place, proper disposal will become even more important. Councilmember Licata adds, “I have heard from many citizens who simply do not know where to dispose of CFLs properly. This will provide convenient locations for them to do just that.”
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