National Lamp Recycling Outreach
Types of Universal Waste
In the mid-2000s, EPA conducted a mercury lamp recycling outreach program to promote the recycling of mercury-containing lamps by commercial and industrial users. The outreach program increased awareness of the proper disposal methods of mercury-containing lamps in compliance with federal and state universal waste rules. This outreach effort sought to increase the amount of lamps recycled in the short-term, as well as have lasting impact over the long-term.
To support this effort, EPA awarded funds in the form of cooperative agreements to state and non-profit organizations for the development and implementation of a coordinated nationwide mercury lamp recycling outreach program.
Below is a list cooperative agreement recipients and an outline of their specific outreach efforts:
- Association of Lighting and Mercury Recyclers
- California Department of Toxic Substances Control
- Center for Ecological Technology
- Hawaii Department of Health
- Northeast Waste Management Officials Association
- Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Center
- St. Regis Mohawk Tribe
- University of South Carolina
- Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation
Association of Lighting and Mercury Recyclers (ALMR)
The Association of Lighting and Mercury Recyclers worked in collaboration with EPA to increase the national recycling rate through an education and outreach campaign. In order to encourage better management of mercury from spent lamps, ALMR targeted outreach efforts towards the people who can best contribute to diverting these lamps from municipal solid waste landfills such as building owners and managers of commercial, industrial and government properties. The objective was to get enough information to the right people so that both mandatory and voluntary recycling increased.
Accomplishments from ALMRs Lamp Recycling Outreach Program (LROP) are as follows:
- Produced education materials, resource information and a plan for national outreach and implementation, along with outreach to target groups who can influence lamp disposal. Waste handlers can learn about end-of-life lamp management by:
- reading a guidance manual (PDF) (129 pp, 1M, About PDF) on the Solid Waste Association of North America website
- viewing a PowerPoint presentation training module on the Solid Waste Association of North America website Download a free PowerPoint viewer
- Developed a public service announcement, contributed to EPAs lamp recycling website (frequent questions page), updated the state programs databases and compiled data that will be used to determine effectiveness of outreach.
- Published a CD-ROM (11/04) aimed at educating users, contractors, waste handlers and others about the regulations, issues and responsibilities surrounding proper end-of-life lamp management. About 5,800 copies were sent to hundreds of groups, agencies and individuals. About 40 high priority organizations were targeted for individual follow up for workshops or publicity via member media. Over 80 other organizations were contacted and sent materials.
- Provided community assistance several cities, counties and local organizations have asked for assistance with infrastructure, access to recyclers, information on how to set up collection, and other lamp recycling information.
- Held outreach meetings LROP materials were distributed at over 80 meetings or workshops across the country.
California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC)
The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) Mercury Lamp Recycling Outreach project has three components: (1) an online training course; (2) presentations to businesses; and (3) incorporation of information on lamp recycling into the California State University and California Compliance Schools (CCS) existing curriculum.
DTSC, in collaboration with the California State University of Sacramento, has incorporated the Mercury Lamp Recycling Outreach program material developed through EPAs Lamp Recycling Outreach Program (modified to reflect the differences in Californias regulations) into an informative online training. The self-paced online training course will allow the California Compliance School to target a larger portion of the regulated community. The course went online October 17, 2005. Course is no longer available as of 2013.
CCS is a partnership between DTSC and the California Community Colleges. CCS is administered through the Bakersfield Community Colleges Environmental Technology Institute, and offers basic instruction to the regulated community on compliance with state hazardous waste laws and regulations. CCS is an innovative, activity based training program that teaches the basics of complying with the hazardous waste laws and regulations in a fun and interesting format. This component of the project was incorporated into a new training module that addresses the proper management of fluorescent lamps into the CCS curriculum. CCS can offer their activity based training at various locations throughout California. In addition, violators of universal waste management requirements for lamps would be referred to CCS as part of the settlement agreement. The CCS mercury lamp module was completed in June 2006.
DTSC is providing training on the requirements for managing universal waste lamps and information on proper disposition of waste lamps to various industry associations, environmental managers, building managers, electrical contractors, and local agencies. DTSC has also developed a fact sheet (PDF) (2 pp, 300K, About PDF) and Best Management Practices (PDF).(12 pp, 75K, About PDF)
Center for Ecological Technology (CET)
Outreach and Education for Results
CET promotes mercury-containing lamp recycling to businesses and industries, schools, organizations and municipalities in western Massachusetts through outreach and education, technical assistance and infrastructure development.
The Evolution of Methodology
CET began the lamp-recycling project using traditional outreach techniques and greatly increased its effectiveness over time by forming innovative partnerships with local boards of health.
|CETs Lamp Recycling Outreach Projects|
Working with Health Departments
CET had great success in reaching out to municipal health departments as a way to add regulatory muscle to lamp recycling. This proved especially true for businesses that need to have an annual permit from the health department.
CET partnered with the health departments in the Towns of Amherst, Belchertown, Granby, Greenfield, South Hadley, and Ware. In each town, CET worked with the health department to send a letter on health department stationery to all tanning salons. A week or two after the letter was sent, CET met with each salon owner to talk about the importance of lamp recycling and to provide technical assistance to the owner. During these visits, CET:
- Ascertained the number of bulbs;
- Addressed questions about storage and logistics;
- Provided a poster about proper management of spent bulbs; and
- Worked with the owner to determine which local recycling option would be most cost-effective.
This two-pronged approach was very effective in ensuring that tanning lamps are recycled. CET worked with over 27 tanning salons, all of which are recycling. At least 28,720 linear feet of tanning lamps were recycled in 2005 as a result of CETs efforts.
CET worked with the Town of Granby, Massachusetts to institute a by-law that requires all tanning salons to recycle used lamps as a part of the permit to operate a tanning facility. Inspectors who conduct semi-annual health inspections of the facilities will now be able to ask about lamp recycling as part of their visit.
In addition to oversight of tanning salons, health departments regulate food establishments, supermarkets, hotels, spas, schools and convenience stores through an annual permitting process. The South Hadley, Massachusetts Health Department chose to incorporate recycling mercury lamps into the 2006 permit renewal process. CET worked with the health department and the Recycling Coordinator to distribute information to 80 permitted businesses. Now, these businesses must document their recycling of spent lamps when they apply for an annual operating permit. This additional item on the permit application doesnt burden the health department and it helps get mercury out of our air and water.
Similar letters from the West Springfield Health Department have been sent to over 300 businesses. CET provided site visits to these businesses through the first half of 2006.
The Expanding Effect
Health department partnerships have helped CET gain access to an expanding audience. Several chain businesses (Friendlys, Curves, Rockys/Ace Hardware) are now considering recycling at multiple locations in the region in order to stay ahead of future health department initiatives in surrounding towns.
- On-site interactions with businesses build commitment, overcome barriers (such as logistics, storage, and cost) and compel owners to institute recycling programs.
- Face-to-face technical assistance is more effective than letters, advertisements, newspaper articles or other passive educational devices and provides measurable results.
- Partnering with local regulatory entities creates access to many businesses and establishes a process for institutionalizing recycling in several industry sectors.
- Mercurys health impacts provide an opportunity to educate and engage health officials.
- Health officials add credibility, authority and in some cases regulatory muscle.
Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH)
Hawaiis Lamp Recycling Project had two parts:
- The first part was to develop a lamp recycling outreach program in Hawaii. Due to lack of education and awareness, many Hawaii businesses have been handling their mercury-containing lamps as hazardous wastes or as municipal solid waste. This project focused on increasing awareness among all commercial lamp users and promoting mercury lamp recycling. Used lamps are one of the largest hazardous waste streams generated by businesses that typically would not generate hazardous waste as part of their daily operations.
Hawaiis unique geography makes it difficult to easily provide and distribute information among the separate island counties. Therefore, the state has attempted to partner with other state (especially the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism via the Hawaii Green Business Program), city, and federal agencies; major lamp manufacturers (Philips, GE, Osram-Sylvania) and distributors; and lamp recyclers to provide outreach to lamp users on all the islands. One of the goals of the project was to expand the outreach and awareness on mercury-containing lamps and regulations on universal waste. Additionally, the use and recycling of low-mercury lamps was also promoted as part of the outreach.
- The second part of the project was to work with the recycling and lighting industry to determine the feasibility of offering recycling services in the state since recycling is currently not available. Therefore, a key project component was the completion of a study, which evaluated the feasibility of in-state lamp recycling. The study was expected to generate HDOH fact sheets aimed at increasing lamp recycling and recommendations which will facilitate the establishment of in-state recycling facilities.
Northeast Waste Management Officials Association (NEWMOA)
NEWMOAs Lamp Recycling Outreach Project has focused on promoting lamp recycling among two sectors: electrical distributors and commercial property managers. To conduct this work NEWMOA first formed a Lamp Recycling and Outreach Workgroup comprised of environmental agency representatives from its member states (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont). NEWMOA also created a listserve for the Workgroup members to share information about lamp recycling.
NEWMOAs Lamp Recycling Workgroup conducted outreach to electrical distributors to encourage them to set up reverse distribution (also known as a lamp take-back program), so that lamp users would have more options for recycling their lamps. NEWMOA believes lamp take-back programs can help address the issue of inconvenience, which is often cited as a reason why lamp users do not recycle their lamps. Electrical distributors can follow different approaches to reverse distribution, ranging from simply acting as a broker to picking up spent lamps from customers.
NEWMOA also believes that electrical distributors are uniquely positioned to offer their customers a convenient one-stop shopping arrangement for lamp purchasing and spent lamp management. At the same time, distributors stand to make a profit by offering recycling services. As The Electrical Distributor (TED) Magazine says, Offering a recycling option to customers can be a good value-add service for distributors, TED Magazine, July 2002.
Following a social marketing model, NEWMOAs Lamp Recycling Workgroup began its efforts to motivate commercial property managers to recycle their lamps by investigating the barriers that prevent property managers from recycling and the incentives that could motivate them to change their behavior. NEWMOA hired a social marketing consultant to conduct this research.
After-background research confirmed that barriers preventing property managers from recycling their lamps include cost, perceived lack of convenience, poor awareness, and lack of enforcement. The Workgroup then narrowed the focus of its research to:
- How and where property managers get information;
- How lamp management decisions are made;
- Communication with tenants; and
- The budget process.
To reach commercial property managers, incorporating the lessons learned from the social marketing research, NEWMOAs Lamp Recycling Workgroup:
- Placed advertisements promoting lamp recycling in publications read by property managers;
- Mailed promotional brochures to thousands of property management companies in its member states;
- Met with property manager professional organizations;
- Placed articles in newsletters and magazines read by property managers; and
- Exhibited at trade shows frequented by property managers.
Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Center (PPRC)
PPRC led an effort to educate hospitals, lighting contractors and property managers about the proper disposal of spent fluorescent lamps. The PPRC partners included the Washington State Hospital Association, Lighting Design Lab, and the City of Boise Public Works. The outreach plan included holding presentations and workshops at trade association meetings, maintaining a presence at trade conferences, and a media plan that includes a full year of advertisements and articles in targeted trade journals.
St. Regis Mohawk Tribe (SRMT)
SRMTs Waste Lamp Project has two goals:
- Empower businesses on the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation to properly dispose of waste lamps; and
- Create a model for other tribal communities to implement in their communities.
SRMT has been executing a demonstration project since October 2003. Since that time, SRMT has developed tribal-specific outreach materials including a brochure and video. SRMT developed a video training for businesses in the community and began collecting waste lamps in early 2006. Businesses are allowed to bring their used waste lamps to SRMTs transfer station. Once there, the lamps are inventoried and stored in standard universal waste lamp boxes.
SRMT developed a waste lamp training manual. Other communities can use the manual to execute a waste lamp collection program. The waste lamp training manual was completed in July 2006. Read the training manual (PDF) (35 pp, 1.2M, About PDF)
University of South Carolina (USC)
The Environmental Research and Service (ERS) unit of the Institute for Public Service and Policy Research (IPSPR) at the University of South Carolina (USC) is a partner with the Business Recycling Assistance Program (B-RAP), a joint program of the South Carolina Department of Commerce and the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).
USC has focused its activities in particular on outreach to owners and operators of tanning parlors. Tanning parlors are of particular concern because they generate comparatively large numbers of mercury-containing lamps. Also, the lamps used in tanning beds tend to contain a higher level of mercury than do lamps normally available in commerce (i.e., those used in ordinary fluorescent lighting fixtures).
The project also has resulted in a number of site visits to companies interested in recycling their spent lamps. B-RAP staff have made numerous site visits to a variety of types of facilities, during the course of the project. B-RAP staff also have provided a number of interested companies with educational and outreach materials.
The project provided mini-grants to Dorchester County and Georgetown County to assist these counties with collecting spent mercury-containing lamps by allowing them to purchase lamp collection boxes and have the boxes collected when they were full. Dorchester County has reported that the mini-grant assisted it in recycling more than 300 lamps. The county also reported that activities funded by the mini-grant gave county employees a greater sense of the need to recycle these lamps, and provided a safer work place for the countys maintenance personnel.
Also, B-RAP organized a mercury lamp amnesty day at a Home Depot home improvement store in Aiken, SC on May 14, 2005. Anyone could bring used mercury-containing lamps and leave them for proper packaging and recycling. Lamps accepted included all sizes of fluorescent tubes, flood lamps, plastic encased spotlights, high intensity discharge (HID) lamps, household or compact fluorescent bulbs, and tanning or UV bulbs and lamps. The amnesty day was advertised in local newspapers and through signs posted in local convenience centers. More than 800 bulbs were collected during the event.
The final education and outreach segments of the program were conducted at the end of 2005 and the beginning of 2006. The second final segment provided interested school districts with lamp collection boxes, and arranged for the boxes to be collected by two private lamp recycling companies with facilities in the state of South Carolina.
This outreach project distributed educational material and information on available recycling resources and programs to more than 8,500 recipients. This was accomplished through newsletter distributions and distribution of literature at conferences, workshops, and as part of oral presentations to individual organizations and business groups. In addition, there were four public service announcements broadcasted throughout the state of South Carolina (one announcement was broadcasted at 158 stations).
Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)
The Vermont DEC lamp recycling outreach project involved outreach on lamp recycling to business and commercial enterprises, schools and municipalities. Efforts are also being made to measure changes in lamp recycling after outreach activities have been conducted. DEC contracted with the Association of Vermont Recyclers to conduct outreach activities with schools.
The following outreach activities have been conducted:
- Mailing of lamp recycling brochure to 16,000 businesses, representing most employers in Vermont, with a second reminder mailing planned;
- Three media campaigns with newspaper advertisements and radio public service announcements conducted between 2003 and 2005. Advertisements were included in all of the daily and weekly papers in the state and nine radio stations;
- A newspaper insert of the lamp recycling brochure was placed in the Burlington Free Press (circulation 140,000);
- Newsletter articles were developed for inclusion in 14 business, municipal and school organization newsletters;
- 60,000 dumpster stickers were printed and are being distributed to solid waste management business and waste haulers for placement on commercial, municipal, and residential dumpsters. The stickers encourage keeping lamps out of the trash and recycling them;
- A two-year pilot lamp recycling program at over 30 True Value hardware stores has been established and is being promoted to small businesses and the general public. The program offers free recycling;
- An informational mailing was sent by the Association of Vermont Recyclers to over 500 public and private schools in Vermont that included information on lamp recycling;
- Several presentations were made by the Association of Vermont Recyclers at regional school meetings and conferences on lamp recycling, reaching out to principals, custodians and school nurses;
- Direct phone consultation assistance was provided by the Association of Vermont Recyclers to over 20 schools to answer questions on setting up lamp recycling programs, and 15 schools received lamp recycling information as part of a comprehensive on-site environmental audit of cleaning supplies and hazardous products; and
- Website information on lamp recycling is now available on the DEC website .
Measuring Results Baseline lamp recycling for the state was determined for calendar year 2003 by gathering data from lamp recycling facilities serving the state. This baseline represented lamp recycling prior to outreach activities conducted under the cooperative agreement. In calendar year 2004, similar data on lamp recycling were gathered to determine any changes in recycling as a result of the first year of outreach. Results showed a 6% increase in linear feet of fluorescent tubes recycled and more than a 20% increase in compact fluorescents recycled. By September 2006 (end of the project period), the number of linear fluorescent lamps recycled had increased by 18% over the 2003 baseline. The number of compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) increased by 4.4% over the 2003 baseline.