Washington State Adopts Rules For Mercury-Containing Lights

The Washington State Ecology Department has approved rules overseeing the state’s stewardship program for lights and products containing mercury.

The original law which was passed in 2010, created the ability for all consumers to recycle compact fluorescent bulbs free of charge and began a manufacturer-funded stewardship program to oversee the administration of it. The rules also prohibit the disposal of any light bulbs containing mercury in the garbage.The ruling is scheduled to officially start on January 1, of the new year.

Based on the policies in the stewardship plan, manufacturers of lights containing mercury can only sell their products in the state of Washington if they agree to support and participate in the recycling stewardship program. Through the program, all lights containing mercury will be collected and sent to approved facilities for processing.

Washington state officials estimate that over six million light bulbs containing mercury were purchased within the state in 2011.

While the stewardship program is currently financed through annual fees charged to  manufacturers, long-term funding solutions include placing recycling fees on the bulbs at the time of purchase.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Mercury is a hazardous substance and must be disposed of properly in order to prevent contamination and reduce health risks. If your business purchases these bulbs, be sure to follow your state’s disposal regulations to avoid penalties or fine.