Concord, NH – Thanks to a new program offered by TrueValue hardware stores and the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, homeowners and small businesses now have a convenient way to recycle spent fluorescent lamps. Fluorescent lamps save energy, thereby benefiting the environment. However, all fluorescent lamps contain some mercury, which is a highly toxic, heavy metal that can harm the environment and our health when improperly disposed. To keep mercury out of the environment, homeowers and small businesses may now bring their spent lamps to any participating TrueValue hardware store where the lamps will be collected and properly recycled at no cost to the consumer.
Fluorescent lamps save energy and thereby reduce pollution when compared to standard incandescent lamps. For example, when PSNH assisted lamp change over projects in 18 major companies, the resulting 2.4 million kilowatt hours of energy saved reduced power plant carbon dioxide emissions by over 3.6 million pounds and sulfur dioxide emissions by over 24,000 pounds. However, the 106 pounds of mercury estimated to be annually generated by New Hampshire’s 2.4 million spent lamps makes fluorescent lamps one of the largest sources of mercury in the state. Mercury is a potent toxin that can affect the human nervous system, damage developing fetuses and interfere with brain function in children. Because there are few recycling or disposal options for homeowners or small businesses, only about 20 percent of the state’s spent fluorescent lamps are properly recycled; the rest are generally tossed in the trash where they can create serious environmental problems when burned at an incinerator and released as an air emission.
In this first-of-a kind program, TrueValue hardware stores, the NH Department of Environmental Services, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation and Public Service of New Hampshire teamed up to create a system to collect, consolidate and recycle spent fluorescent lamps generated by homeowners and small businesses in New Hampshire and Vermont. Here’s how it works: The TrueValue Distribution Center in Manchester stocks special lamp recycling boxes provided by Complete Recycling Solutions, a state-approved lamp recycling facility. TrueValue will use its product distribution system to send empty recycling boxes to participating, local TrueValue stores. Homeowners and small businesses may bring up to six fluorescent lamps to the local store where they will be accepted for free and stored in the recycling boxes. When the boxes are full, returning TrueValue distribution trucks will take them back to the distribution center where they will be picked up by Complete Recycling Solution for recycling.
This program is being offered as a free service to consumers. The cost of recycling the lamps is paid by the Department of Environmental Services. Public Service of New Hampshire is helping DES with program advertising and TrueValue Hardware supplies the store locations, manages the lamps and transports them to their distribution center for consolidation and recycling. This program was piloted in Vermont last August, and has been so popular there, TrueValue may eventually expand it throughout their national chain of stores.
Information on the program may be accessed from the DES web site.