This week the Senate will vote on a bill (S.34) to ensure that recycling mercury-containing fluorescent bulbs is free and convenient.
The benefits of fluorescent bulbs in terms of energy efficiency are tremendous, and VPIRG supports their continued use. However, fluorescent bulbs also contain mercury, a known neurotoxin that can build up in our bodies and the environment. As the demand for energy efficient lighting increases, it’s imperative that Vermont have an effective recycling infrastructure in place.
Currently, recycling programs for fluorescent bulbs place the financial burdens squarely on the shoulders of the state, municipalities, and ultimately the tax payers. Instead, Vermont should require manufacturers to also share in the responsibility of properly disposing of mercury-containing lamps. By financing the cost of recycling their products, manufacturers will have a powerful incentive to design their lamps to last longer and to exclude the toxic materials, including mercury, that make recycling so difficult and expensive.