Sun, Oct 15, 2006 - Page 2 News List

EPA to allow recycling for additional types of lamps

By Shelly Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Used circular flourescent lamps, incandescent lamps and energy saving lamps will become recyclable items starting July next year, according to a recent announcement by the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA).

High-intensity discharge (HID) lamps, however, will not become recyclable until 2008.

Lin Chien-hui (林建輝), executive secretary of EPA's Recycling Fund Management Committee, said last week that light tubes and light bulbs commonly used in homes contain poisonous substances such as mercury, phosphor powders, flint glass and copper and pose a tremendous threat to the environment as well as human health if not properly disposed of.

"With the technology that is now available, it [recycling used lighting products] not only helps generate revenues for the recycling industry, it also helps preserve the environment," he said.

Individuals can collect used lighting items and hand them directly to garbage collectors when the policy becomes effective in July next year. The administration has also authorized certified waste recyclers and manufacturers to control the recycling of the used lighting items.

The EPA said that the recycling of linear florescent lamps began three years ago and that the lamps now account for 80 percent of all discarded lighting products. The recycling rate for the lamps has reached more than 60 percent.

Circular florescent lamps account for 5 percent of all used lighting products, while energy-saving lamps account for 6 percent and incandescent lamps for 5.3 percent.

The EPA decided to postpone the recycling of HID lamps, which are primarily used for illumination in public places such as parks or stadiums, because they contain a higher percentage of mercury than regular light bulbs.

In order to process HID lamps, recyclers will have to purchase additional sophisticated equipment, the EPA said.

The new policy is expected to increase the recycling rate of used lighting products to 96 percent.

However, it excludes incandescent lamps with a base diameter smaller than 2.6cm because they do not pose a threat to the environment.

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