North America: Veolia will construct a new 5000 square foot ‘state-of-the-art’ dedicated lamp recycling facility located in Pickering, Canada. The plant will also process other mercury-containing electronics. This development follows Ontario legislation aiming to ban commercial parties and residents from landfilling lamps by 2020.
Up to 99% of the glass and metal wastes from lamps will be recycled by Veolia at the new site, thanks to hi-tech equipment that effectively crushes and separates expired mercury-bearing lamps like compact fluorescents into three components: metal, glass, and phosphor powder.
‘For the past four years, spent lamps gathered in Ontario have been transported to our recycling facility in Port Washington for disassembly, mercury recycling and glass and metal recovery,’ comments company president Bob Cappadona.
The new site will finally provide a solution closer to home. By minimising the transport of lamps into the United States, Veolia expects to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions from diesel fuel usage by 796 tonnes per year.
It is added that the mercury-bearing phosphor powder will be transported to Veolia’s Port Washington facility for retorting and recycling. The expansion is said to complement Veolia’s current industrial cleaning and hazardous materials management services at the same location.
Figures from the Association of Lighting and Mercury Recyclers indicate that while the majority of mercury-containing lamps are recyclable, only 24% of the approximately 600 million lamps discarded per year are recycled in accordance with state and federal regulations.