Recycling & Waste Disposal
Learn how to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle in Thurston County
An important component of becoming energy efficient is managing resources wisely, including thinking about how to reduce your trash output. Did you know that the average American generates about 4.4 pounds of garbage a day (according to the EPA)? That’s just over 1600 pounds per year! This number does not include industrial waste or commercial trash.
Although these numbers are staggering, it is possible for each one of us to make changes in our everyday habits and remove some of our trash from the waste stream.
Below are some great links that can give you more information about how to do it.
Properly Disposing of Fluorescent Lights
Using fluorescent lights saves you money on your energy bill. It also protects the environment by reducing the amount of energy – and pollution – produced by power plants. Fluorescent lights do, however, contain small amounts of mercury, so they need to be managed properly. Per Washington State regulations, they are classified as hazardous waste and cannot be disposed of in the garbage. Thurston County residents may dispose of them at participating retail stores, HazoHouse, semi-annual WasteMobile events, or through a permitted hazardous waste disposal company.
How to Recycle Lamps
- Remove bulbs from fixtures
- Put lamps in original cartons or boxes supplied by the recycler, with no packing material
- For large quantities of lamps, call your vendor for packing instructions
- Do not tape lamps together
- Store cartons in a dry place
- Date the boxes on the day you begin storing; limit accumulation to one year
- Businesses should save disposal receipts for proof of legal disposal
What to Do If You Break a Lamp
Avoid breathing vapors or touching broken materials.
Do not vacuum or sweep.
- Open windows to vent vapors for at least 15 minutes.
- Use stiff paper or cardboard to pick up large pieces.
- Use duct tape to pick up small pieces and powder.
- Wipe the area clean with a damp paper towel or wet wipe.
- Place all materials in a sealed container.
- Wash your hands.
- Dispose of at HazoHouse — not in your trash.
When you change a bulb, cover the flooring with a sheet of plastic.
For more information about fluorescent lights, mercury pollution, and state and federal rules regarding fluorescent lamp disposal, visit Thurston County’s website at: http://www.co.thurston.wa.us/health/ehhw/fluorescent.html