Fed Set Rules for How to Dispose of Mercury-Filled Light Bulbs
Canadians will soon have guidance from the federal government on how to dispose of mercury-containing light bulbs in an environmentally responsible way.
Bill C-238, a new act that sets out rules for a national light bulb disposal strategy, received royal assent on Thursday.
The National Strategy for Safe and Environmentally Sound Disposal of Lamps Containing Mercury Act commits the government to identify ways to dispose of mercury-containing light bulbs safely and establish guidelines for facilities that dispose of them, and then promote the program to Canadians.
Dartmouth-Cole Harbour MP Darren Fisher, who introduced the private member’s bill, said there were no federal regulations outlining how to dispose of light bulbs.
One regular, 13-watt residential compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL) contains on average 3.5 milligrams of mercury. Energy Star-certified CFLs contain 2.5 milligrams or less. Fluorescent tubes contain up to 12 milligrams.
Fisher said about 1,150 kilograms of mercury end up in Canadian landfills each year.
A 2014 federal ban on most residential incandescent bulbs means more Canadians are using compact fluorescent bulbs. A 2014 report from Statistics Canada noted that in 2011, three-quarters of households across the country used at least one CFL bulb.
About half the households that used CFLs reported throwing them in the garbage, and Haligonians were the most likely to toss them, with 84 per cent doing so, the report said.
Recycling facilities in some municipalities and provinces break CFL bulbs down and recycle about 98 per cent of the components, including the mercury. Some retailers also collect used bulbs to send to recyclers.
Source: CBC News – Nova Scotia