We often talk about waste electrical and electronic equipment without mentioning light sources, bulbs, to be more clear. But are they part of the category of electrical and electronic equipment waste?
In recent years, the use of energy-saving light bulbs has become more and more common. We use energy saving bulbs because they help us save electricity, thus reducing the associated expenses and also helping to reduce carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to global warming. Why? Energy saving bulbs and fluorescent tubes, most commonly known as neon, are recyclable.
What are WEEE bulbs?
Not all light bulbs fall into the category of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). Classic bulbs, with filament, are not part of this category, as they are not recyclable.
On the other hand, the new models of bulbs, the so-called "ecological" (or "economic") bulbs are considered electrical equipment, which is why it is mandatory to collect them separately so that they enter the recycling circuit.
WEEE bulbs come in a variety of types and forms, some of which contain hazardous substances that can seriously harm nature and human health if not properly collected.
- LED bulbs - do not contain mercury vapors and other substances hazardous to the environment and human health, but only recyclable materials.
- fluorescent bulbs (CFL) or halogen ones - contain toxic chemical elements that must be recovered in a controlled manner. The most dangerous are the mercury vapors in this category of bulbs.
Some bulbs contain mercury vapor, like the one in the photo below. It is mandatory that they be collected separately, in dedicated containers.
And the bulbs containing mercury, shown in the list below, must be collected in the dedicated containers.
- Fluorescent Lamp Bulbs (Linear, U-tube and Circular Fluorescent Tubes, Insect Zapper, UV A light Tanning Bulbs, Germicidal Bulbs, High Power Bulbs and Cold Cathode Fluorescent Bulbs).
- High Intensity Discharge Bulbs (Metal Halide, Metal Halide, Ceramic, Sodium Vapor and High Pressure Mercury)
- Mercury short arc bulbs;
- Neon bulbs.
LED bulbs do not contain mercury vapor or other toxic substances, only recyclable materials.
When a classic bulb breaks, our main concern is not to cut ourselves into pieces, and we send the waste to the household waste, because these bulbs are not recyclable.
But when an economic light bulb breaks, we must know that it must be collected separately and thus introduced into the recycling circuit.
In the case of mercury vapor or mercury-containing bulbs, it is very important first to ventilate the room where the accident occurred to avoid contamination, then it is extremely important to safely dispose of this type of waste in points specially arranged for taking WEEE type bulbs. Do not use the vacuum cleaner or broom to clean the remaining pieces of the bulb, but use a piece of hard cardboard. Place all leftovers in a jar with a lid or a plastic bag that you then seal.
To find out which is the nearest collection point to your location, please go to https://www.ecotic.ro/puncte-de-colectare/