Feb 24

Local company leads light bulb recycling efforts


General News

The Federal Government is demanding we all use more energy efficient light bulbs.  You’ve likely heard about the new regulations which phase out the traditional incandescent bulb and phase in the compact fluorescent light but you may not know that a business in Troy is leading the way in recycling both the old and the new.

The bulbs come from retailers, businesses, municipalities and homeowners and eLot Recycling Inc. can handle them all.  Over the past few months, eLot has recycled hundreds of thousands of bulbs from across New York State.

“What was one waste stream, a light bulb, now becomes crushed glass, mercury-phosphate powder as well as aluminum and brass end caps and each of those components end up being recycled as opposed to throwing a bulb in the garbage where it’s never seen again and the mercury potentially goes into the ground water or into a landfill,” says Maish Freedman the owner of eLot.

Businesses and municipalities are legally obligated to recycle all light bulbs and right now about 80% of eLot’s business comes from those entities.  Homeowners are not mandated to recycle bulbs, “there’s a line, what’s the right thing to do and what’s kinda the easiest thing to do, well the right thing to do for the environment is to take the bulb to someone like us,” says Freedman.

Freedman suggests you first check with your town, village or city to see if they accept bulbs for recycling.  Home improvement stores also normally accept used bulbs free of charge for recycling and chances are they’ll end up sending them right to eLot.

When recycling your old bulbs, it’s best to put them in a plastic baggy just in case they break or chip.  The newer CFL’s usually last about 6 times longer and use 75 percent less energy compared to incandescent bulbs but they are normally $2-3 more per bulb.

For more information on how to choose the best light bulbs for your room:
http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=cfls.pr_cfls_guide