The bulbs and the materials that compose them are fully recyclable and must be treated in an appropriate way to correctly recover their components, such as glass, metal or mercury. It is important because some of them, like mercury, can be dangerous. Specifically, mercury, like that contained in light bulbs, is a component that can be harmful to human health and the environment.
But, where are the bulbs recycled so that they do not pollute and their components are used again? In this AgroCorrn article, we will tell you about it.
- Energy saving, discharge, fluorescent and LED bulbs
- How to recycle a light bulb – the process
- Incandescent and halogen bulbs and their recycling
Energy saving, discharge, fluorescent and LED bulbs
This group of bulbs are very important to recycle, because they contain small amounts of mercury . Mercury is a highly toxic substance for human health and highly polluting for the environment, so its recycling is essential to avoid risks.
For example, in Spain, there is Ambilamp is a non-profit association, which is responsible for the collection of this type of light bulbs. We will find the special containers for the recycling of light bulbs in electrical distributors, shops or clean points in your locality. The bulbs must be deposited whole (avoiding breakage), without boxes or packaging and inside their collector.
However, in these containers we will not be able to throw halogen bulbs, nor filament bulbs, conventional or incandescent.
How to recycle a light bulb – the process
Once at the recycling plant, each type of bulb is separated and follows its recycling process :
The fluorescents pass through a conveyor belt. The first step is to cut the ends of the tube, thus making it easier to remove the heads. The tube is then passed through a suction system, which collects the fluorescent powders that will later be distilled. The glass goes through a process of crushing and cleaning, and the metal is also crushed, separating the aluminum from the other components. Plastic is crushed, just like glass or metal. After being shredded, each type of material is taken to its destination to be reused.
Recycling of energy saving light bulbs, discharge and LEDs
In these bulbs, the lamp is clamped by the socket and the glass is shattered by pressure. This is then passed through the still in order to recover the mercury. At the end, the clamps are opened and the metal bushing is ejected. Mercury evaporates due to high still temperatures. Later, it is cooled until it becomes a liquid.
Once the recycling is done, mercury and pure glass can be used as raw materials, impure mercury is used in desalination plants, impure glass for jars, ceramics or asphalt, metals for foundry industries and plastics are used to make others. Plastic bottles.
The best record in the recycling of this type of light bulbs in Spain took place in 2010, when almost 13 million units were recycled, approximately 2,000 tons of light bulbs.
The Ambilamp association offers more figures on the recycling of this type of light bulbs in Spain, as well as the location of the recycling points in your town.
Incandescent and halogen bulbs and their recycling
These types of bulbs are not recyclable in Ambilamp containers, so where to dispose of halogen and incandecent bulbs ? The truth is that they can only be thrown in one place to prevent them from contaminating. They must be recycled at the clean points . The reason is that their composition is very different from the previous ones mentioned, since they are much older products.
Recycling of halogen and incandescent bulbs
First, all the collected incandescent and halogen bulbs go through a grinding process. In addition, its components are separated by gravitational differences and in electrostatic systems. Thus, four classes of components are obtained: ferrous metals, non-ferrous metals, glass and molybdenum or tungsten.
Since the concentration of mercury in these types of bulbs is not very high, about 20 mg / kg, they should not go through a distillation process. They should only pass through the still, if the mercury content exceeds 20 ppm.
Glass from recycling can be used as a raw material to make other elements and aluminum can be sent as scrap metal or used in foundry or other factories.
The European Commission established a calendar at the end of 2008 to progressively withdraw incandescent bulbs and between the months of September 2009 and 2013, incandescent bulbs were to be withdrawn from the market, so that from 2016 , only LED type bulbs , compact fluorescent lamps (LEC) and halogen energy class B lamps will be marketed .
The objective of recycling all these bulbs is to conserve the environment and avoid the emission of pollutants.
If you want to read more articles similar to Where bulbs are recycled , we recommend that you enter our Recycling and waste management category .
Hello, I am a blogger specialized in environmental, health and scientific dissemination issues in general. The best way to define myself as a blogger is by reading my texts, so I encourage you to do so. Above all, if you are interested in staying up to date and reflecting on these issues, both on a practical and informative level.