LIGHT BULBS AND FLUORESCENT LAMPS

LIGHT BULBS AND FLUORESCENT LAMPS

Conventional, incandescent light bulbs are not recyclable. But the newer ones, the so-called “eco-bulbs”, are recyclable and must be recycled, because they contain mercury vapors, a valuable and highly toxic material, both for the environment and to humans.

Under no circumstances should these light bulbs end up in a waste deposit! The same goes for red-colored fluorescent lamps, which also contain mercury vapors; conventional, white fluorescent lamps contain carbon dioxide, a gas that naturally exists in the atmosphere.
 
How are they recycled?
 
Because the mercury in these light bulbs exists as vapors, the recycling process is tightly controlled. Normally, the glass casing is broken inside a vacuum chamber and mercury vapors are drawn and trapped inside a cold container to condense into a liquid; this is a similar process to distilling home-made alcoholic beverages, except that a vacuum pump is used instead of an alembic.
 
What are the advantages of recycling?
 
The mercury in eco-bulbs is a real threat to nature and humans if these bulbs are simply discarded. Warning! In case you accidentally break such a light bulb or fluorescent lamp, it’s best to air the room for 5 to 10 minutes, to release the toxic mercury vapors. The best course of action, both for you and the environment, is to make sure these bulbs don’t break, and when they finally burn out to drop them into a SIGUREC machine.
 
What can I recycle?
 
Straight and compact („folded” or spiralled) eco-bulbs. Private companies and local administrations can also turn in high-intensity discharge lamps such as sodium-vapor lamps and metal-halide lamps; all these are generally used for lighting large areas like streets, commercial and industrial spaces, or sports venues.
 
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