Fluorescent lamps contain mercury, a toxic heavy metal which, if disposed of irresponsibly, can pollute waterways and damage the environment.
Even though the amount of mercury is relatively small, fluorescent lights must be disposed of as hazardous waste. Mercury can cause severe damage to the brain, nervous system, kidneys, lungs, and other vital organs.
Do not attempt to dismantle fluorescent lamps yourself.
Fluorescent lamps can contain mercury, the disposal of which is tightly regulated in New Zealand. Mercury-containing lamps are considered a hazardous waste when the concentration of mercury exceeds 0.2mg/l. Most lamps (weighing between 200-300g) contain between 0.3 – 20mgs of mercury. Therefore, New Zealand regulation ensures that lamps sent to landfill are minimised.
Elements which are recycled from fluorescent lamps include the mercury, aluminium, glass and phospor powder. In order to recycle the tubes they are first crushed, the elements are separated, and the mercury is recovered. All products are then distilled and recycled into marketable by-products which include:
How to reduce the need for fluorescent lighting:
Fluorescent tubes are collected at the Whanganui Resource Recovery Centre for recycling. Please ask a staff member on the forecourt where to place your tubes.
[If you know of a source of UN-rated 200L drums with lids, please get in touch with us via the "Have A Question, Tip, Something to Add" link, as these are needed to transport crushed light bulbs/tubes safely.]
Please keep from landfill wherever possible.