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Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs (CFL)
March 21, 2019
In 2014, compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFL) became the preferred lighting choice when the Canadian government phased out the standard incandescent bulb. This was a logical decision because CFL technology is more energy efficient than the incandescent.
There is a concern that compact fluorescent lightbulbs and fluorescent tubes contain a small amount of mercury. Therefore burned out bulbs require a safe and careful disposal. To confirm if your bulbs contain mercury, look for the displayed Hg symbol. Millions of lightbulbs containing mercury are disposed of in landfills every year. Unfortunately, this means that mercury vapour is being released into the environment.
To ensure they don’t break, compact fluorescent lightbulbs need to be handled gently. If a bulb containing mercury breaks, it is suggested that you leave the room for at least 15 minutes to allow the vapours to settle.
The following are some important points to remember for safe CFL clean-up and disposal.
Before Compact Fluorescent Lightbulb Clean-up
Air out the room by opening the window or door.
Turn off the central heating or air conditioning system to help avoid spreading the vapours.
During Compact Fluorescent Lightbulb Clean-up
Always wear gloves to avoid contact with the mercury and getting cuts from the broken pieces.
Use stiff papers or cardboard to scoop up the bigger broken pieces.
Use duct tape or other sticky tape to pick up the remaining glass and powder.
Avoid using a bagless vacuum cleaner as it may spread the mercury vapours and possibly contaminate the canister.
Wipe the area with a damp paper towel to remove the leftover particles from the hard floor.
Place all broken pieces in a glass container with a tight lid and place it outside of the home in a safe place. If you use a plastic bag, double bag.
If a vacuum with a disposal bag is used, the bag should be carefully removed immediately after clean-up and discarded with other contaminated materials.
After Compact Fluorescent Lightbulb Clean-up
Continue airing out the room. Keep the central air system off.
Take the glass container or plastic bag to a recycling depot for proper disposal.
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