We often talk about waste electrical and electronic equipment without mentioning light sources, bulbs, to be clearer. But are they part of the waste category of electrical and electronic equipment?
In recent years, the use of energy-saving light bulbs has become increasingly common. We use energy-saving light bulbs because they help us save electricity, thus reducing the associated costs and at the same time helping to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, which contribute to global warming. Why? Energy-saving light bulbs and fluorescent tubes, most commonly known as neons, are recyclable.
What are WEEE bulbs?
Not all light bulbs fall into the category of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). Classic filament bulbs do not fall into this category, as they are not recyclable.
Instead, the new models of light bulbs, the so-called “ecological” (or “economical”) 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 shapes, some of which contain hazardous substances that can seriously harm nature and human health if not collected properly.
- LED bulbs - do not contain mercury vapor and other substances dangerous for the environment and human health, but only recyclable materials.
- fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) or halogen bulbs - contain toxic chemicals that must be recovered in a controlled manner. The most dangerous are mercury vapors in this category of light bulbs.
Some bulbs contain mercury vapors, like the ones in the photo below. It is mandatory that they be collected separately in dedicated containers.
Mercury-containing bulbs, listed below, must also be collected in dedicated containers.
- Fluorescent lamp bulbs (Linear, U-tube and circline fluorescent tubes, Insect Zapper, UV A light tanning bulbs, Germicidal bulbs, High power bulbs and Cold cathode fluorescent bulbs).
- High intensity discharge bulbs (metal halides, metal halides, ceramic, high pressure sodium vapor and mercury)
- Mercury short arc bulbs;
- Neon bulbs.
LED bulbs do not contain mercury vapor or other toxic substances, but only recyclable materials.
When a classic light bulb breaks, our main concern is not to cut ourselves into shards, and we send the waste to the garbage, because these bulbs are not recyclable.
But when an economical light bulb breaks, we must know that it must be collected separately and thus introduced into the recycling circuit.
In the case of light bulbs with mercury vapor or containing mercury, it is very important first of all to ventilate the room where the accident took place, in order to avoid contamination, then it is extremely important to dispose of this type of waste safely in the points specially designed for taking over WEEE type bulbs. Do not use a vacuum cleaner or broom to clean the remaining pieces of the bulb, but use a hard piece of cardboard. Put all the leftovers in a jar with a lid or in a plastic bag, which you then seal.
To find out which collection point is closest to your location, please visit https://www.ecotic.ro/puncte-de-colectare/