Fluorescent tubes are the principal source of lighting at our university. Every year we change thousands of burned tubes and replace them with new ones. On average the University buys 82 000 linear feet of tubes per year (according to stats from 2006). We can assume that the same amount is going for disposal.
Each lamp contains around 17 mg of mercury per kg, which is well above the Quebec regulation of 0.1 mg/kg. As of now the burned tubes are going to landfill. We think that now is the time to start recycling those lamps and divert them from landfill. In order to do that we propose to set up storage rooms for building services employees to store the intact tubes. The recycling company can provide fibre drums to safely store the tubes. Once every two weeks (or as needed), a Waste Management employee would go get the lamps from the storage rooms and bring them back to our warehouse where they will be stored until the recycling company come and get them. If needed, the recycling company agreed to go get the lamps directly at the storage room. After transport to the recycling facility, the lamps will then be crushed and separated into glass, metal and mercury powder. All components will be recycled.
For further information conerning this project, or to get in touch with its members, please contact the krista.houser [at] mcgill.ca (SPF Administration Team).