Safe and Environmentally Sound Management of Mercury-Added Lamps

What is the purpose of regulating the management of mercury-added lamps?
One of the benefits of the Mercury Reduction and Education Act, Sections 22a-612 through 625 of the Connecticut General Statutes (CGS), is that it requires people who sell mercury-added lamps to inform all consumers, including businesses, that such products contain mercury. All users of mercury-added lamps, except for household users, are required by law to recycle the spent mercury-added lamps to keep the mercury out of our environment. Such lamps may include fluorescent, neon, high intensity discharge (HID) including mercury vapor, metal halide and high pressure sodium, and other specialty lamps.

Please note that while such lamps contain mercury, they are significantly more energy efficient than incandescent lighting, making them a better environmental choice. Saving energy reduces the combustion of fossil fuels such as coal used for energy, resulting in lower mercury emissions. Consumers should continue to use these energy efficient lamps but need to be aware that they contain mercury and should be disposed of properly.

Some lamp wholesalers and distributors have established programs where they take spent mercury-added lamps back from their customers and send them off for recycling. DEEP maintains a list of lamp recyclers for your convenience. You can also refer to the reverse distribution programs fact sheet for more information.

What are the obligations of a retailer who sells mercury-added lamps?
A retailer of mercury-added lamps must provide information, either on the invoice for the lamps or in a separate document, that the lamps contain mercury which is a hazardous substance regulated by federal and state law, and that they may not be placed in the solid waste destined for disposal.

Who is affected by this provision?

  • Retailers who sell mercury-added lamps, other than those incidentally selling mercury-added lamps;

  • Persons who contract with owners or managers of industrial, commercial or office buildings to remove or replace mercury-added lamps; and

  • Purchasers of, or persons who replace or remove from service, mercury-added lamps.

What must retailers tell workers who handle waste mercury-added products?
All employees who handle or manage waste mercury-added products must be informed of the:

  • proper handling of the waste mercury-added products; and

  • emergency procedures for these products and for mercury.

Are mercury-added lamps considered waste subject to the Universal Waste Rule?
Yes. Lamps removed from commercial, industrial or institutional facilities, including but not limited to fluorescent and neon, are considered universal wastes. DEEP also considers HID lamps to be included in the definition of lamps covered under the Universal Waste Rule.  Refer to the Universal Waste Rule Environmental Program Fact Sheet for specific information. Lamps generated from residential sources are not subject to the Universal Waste Rule, but may be managed as universal wastes.

What method should be used to dispose of residential mercury-added spent lamps?
Mercury-added spent lamps generated from residential buildings should be disposed of through local household hazardous waste collection programs or municipal transfer stations. Refer to the household hazardous waste collection day schedule.

Contact Information and Assistance

Related Fact Sheets and Other Information
Recycling Information
Lamp Recycling

All environmental fact sheets are designed to provide basic information and to answer general questions. You must refer to the appropriate Connecticut General Statutes for the specific definitions and statutory requirements. 

Content Last Updated on December 18, 2006

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