May 28 - Maine Adopts First-in-the-Nation Law to Recycle Mercury-Containing Light Bulbs

Maine recently passed LD 973, a bill that is first-in-the-nation to require compact fluorescent light (CFL) manufacturers to share the costs and responsibility for recycling their mercury-containing bulbs. Governor Baldacci is expected to sign Maine’s bill soon. Similar bills are now pending in MA and VT and CA.

LD 973 will:

· Creates a producer-financed, shared-responsibility collection and recycling system for residents, and take steps towards the creation of a collection program for Maine businesses.

· Sets a standard to limit the mercury content of all lighting, reducing mercury in lighting across the board, lowering mercury use and potential hazards.

· Improves the state’s procurement policy to purchase fluorescent lighting with low mercury content while maximizing energy efficiency & lamp life.

According to Senator Kevin Raye, the lead co-sponsor of the bill,

"This landmark law is an important step forward for Maine’s environment. People can feel good about buying energy efficient light bulbs knowing that the mercury they contain will be safely managed at the end of the bulb’s useful life."

Read the press release.

CAW and CFLs:

CAW is working to pass a CFL-recycling law in California. AB 1173 (Huffman) would limit payment of ratepayer derived Energy Efficiency Funds for CFL ‘prebates’ to only those entities that demonstrate:

1) CFLs meet low mercury criteria;
2) CFLs meet long lamp-life criteria;
3) Either direct implementation of specified CFL recycling program or commitment of specified financial support for CFL recycling.

Retailers who choose to receive energy efficiency money would be required to provide the public with a convenient in-store collection point for CFLs.