Hazardous

Fluorescent Lights

Nationwide recycling and disposal available

Interwaste ( 0800 10 21 31) offer a fluorescent tubes recycling and disposal system. Fluorescent tubes are shipped to Christchurch and the mercury in them is recovered before the tubes are disposed of.  CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) need to be shipped to Auckland for processing, hence the slightly higher cost from South Island.

Interwaste system

  • Interwaste provides a pre-paid box, freight cost included.
  • Once a box is full, Interwaste arrange for it to be picked up.
  • Cartons are available for 50 or 100 fluorescent tubes, or approximately 240 CFLs.
  • These return cartons are often held by electrical retailers or used by local government.

Light up your world- facts and figures on lamps 

An incandescent (hot filament)  light produces a lot of heat in order to make light. Fluorescent lights use a mercury reaction to create light with less heat, therefore, they are more efficient. Even more efficient in power use, Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs will soon overtake Compact fluorescents in popularity

Because of their energy efficiency, energy saving lamps have a greater overall environmental life-cycle benefit than incandescent bulbs, despite containing a little mercury.

Mercury is toxic to human health and bioaccumulates in the environment up the food chain, but the amount inside an individual lamp is not large enough to pose a hazard to users; it's very much less per bulb than found in a medical thermometer. .  However, energy saving lamps need to be disposed of carefully so they do not break and let the mercury escape to pollute air and water.  The Ministry for the Environment has a four page brochure detailing different types of household lamps, benefits of use, as well as safe disposal and clean up of energy saving and mercury containing lamps.