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Busways takes the lead on fluorescent tube recycling

14 Mar 2011

Busways is starting 2011 with a sustainability initiative that will reduce mercury-containing waste going to landfill: recycling of fluorescent tubes. Fluorescent lights are energy-efficient and thus environmentally friendly but they also contain mercury, which is highly toxic. This becomes an issue when disposing of waste tubes. Currently, the vast majority of fluorescent light waste in Australia ends up in landfill. This means that mercury is released into the environment where it pollutes our soil and waterways.

The environmental issues arising from disposing of mercury-containing lights at landfill can easily be addressed by recycling of fluorescent lighting waste, which is done through crush & separation technology. After the waste lights are crushed, the mercury is distilled and recovered, mostly for use in the dental industry. Other materials, such as glass, aluminium and phosphor powder are also recovered for use in building materials, agriculture etc.

From this month on Busways will be recycling all waste fluorescent tubes through a company called CMA Ecocycle. CMA is Australia’s only EPA licensed, mercury distilling and recycling facility. The company offers collection and recycling services nationally and then process the waste at plants located in all states of Australia.