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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services
PUBLIC GOVERNMENT BUSINESS A to Z LIST

Disposal of standard and "low mercury" fluorescent lamps

As of January 1, 2008, it is illegal to dispose of any fluorescent lamp as a solid waste. In fact, any product that contains intentionally-added mercury is also banned from disposal in a solid waste landfill, incinerator or transfer station. Standard fluorescent lamps contain between 15 mg and 40 mg of mercury and are classified as a hazardous waste under the NH Hazardous Waste Rules. While the “Green End Cap,” or low-mercury fluorescent lamps, contain lesser amounts of mercury (approximately 10 mg), they are not “mercury-free.” Mercury contained in fluorescent lamps and other mercury-added products can leak into the groundwater if land-filled, be emitted as an air pollutant if incinerated and emit mercury fumes that could affect worker health when broken. All such products should be properly handled to prevent breakage and the resulting risks to worker health and the environment.

Although spent fluorescent lamps and mercury-added products may be managed as a regulated hazardous waste, we strongly recommend they be recycled as a universal waste through the existing lamp and mercury products recycling infrastructure. Lamps and mercury products managed as a universal waste are exempt from most NH Hazardous Waste Rule requirements making their management and recycling inexpensive and easy. If you ship lamps and mercury products as a universal waste, you are not required to use a hazardous waste hauler or complete a manifest for shipping; a bill of lading is sufficient. If you do use a hazardous waste hauler and manifest, make sure the manifest reads “for recycling” so the hazardous waste shipping fee will not be assessed. For additional information on universal waste lamps, please see fact sheet WMD-HW-7 Adobe Acrobat Reader Symbol.

If you have any questions, please contact Stephanie D'Agostino at (603) 271-6398 or stephanie.dagostino@des.nh.gov.

 

 

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