Some lamps, in particular fluorescents and neon tubes, contain small amounts of mercury. This mercury can create problems when it comes to the end of these lamps’ lives. While it isn’t a lot of mercury (the equivalent of a pen tip per lamp), if all of these lights ended up as landfill the problem of mercury leaching into the ground would cause significant damage and pose a health risk.
The FluoroCycle scheme
The Australian Federal Government and the respective State Governments have come together to promote the proper recycling of the lights under the FluoroCycle scheme. While the scheme will initially target the commercial sector, it will eventually be extended to include residential lighting. But, through certain initiatives, these lamps can be recycled.
If you install high intensity discharge (HID) lamps, fluorescent tubes, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) or neon tubes, recycling is readily available through various means, and can be as easy as going to the local post office.
Companies exist that supply reply-paid recycling packs which can be purchased from electrical wholesalers, then returned through Australia Post. Not only will these companies recycle the mercury, but they will also recycle the glass, phosphor and aluminium contained in the lamps.
To find out more about the Government’s FluoroCycle program, visit www.fluorocycle.org.au.
For instructions on recycling fluorescent globes in your state or territory, visit the Australian Government's Safe disposal of mercury-containing lamps page, or visit recyclingnearyou.com.au to find your nearest recycling station.