In a recent editorial, The Sacramento Bee cited a need to expand recycling of compact fluorescent light bulbs, which came into focus as an alternative to incandescent bulbs when 2007 federal legislation phased them out.
While compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) can be recycled at some sites, there is no uniform recycling program. In California, CFLs have been classified as universal waste because they contain trace amounts of mercury and thus cannot be thrown in the trash but must instead, be properly recycled.
When they burn out - and they do, sooner than producers claim - people have no easy way of tossing them, short of dumping them along with the rest of their household garbage.
A few hardware stores take back burned-out bulbs. But many don’t. That leaves people not wanting to spread mercury in the environment with having to drive to landfills, which of course adds to our collective carbon footprint.
In the editorial, the board expressed support for AB 1022 (Eggman), which would expand the market for recycled CRT glass. The bill was held in Senate Appropriations last year.
The bill stalled in the Senate last year. Although Assembly Bill 1022 doesn’t directly apply to mercury-containing fluorescent bulbs, Eggman’s bill warrants a second look as lawmakers return this month.
You can read the full editorial here.