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Lighting: Waste Disposal

Volume 475: debated on Monday 28 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what consideration he has given to the safe disposal of compact fluorescent lamps. (201007)

Low-energy light bulbs should be disposed of responsibly and advice on their safe disposal has been made available on DEFRA’s public website.

From 1 July 2007, waste Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs—the most common type of energy efficient bulbs) have been subject to the requirements of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations. Those who sell items such as energy efficient bulbs must provide information to the public about where they can take waste bulbs and other WEEE. Some retailers will also take them back in store. However, most retailers have funded Designated Collection Facilities—the majority of these are at local authority civic amenity sites. From this point, producers of such equipment fund its transport, treatment and recycling.

CFLs contain a small amount of mercury (limited to 5mg by the Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive) but it cannot escape from an intact bulb. Even if a bulb should break, the risks from such a small amount of mercury are minimal.