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- Subject: Mercury Management
- From: "Richard Illig (717) 327-3568" <ILLIG.RICHARD@a1.pader.gov>
- Date: Wed, 17 Dec 1997 07:13:06 -0400 (EDT)
- List-Name: P2Tech
- Posting-Date: Wed, 17 Dec 1997 09:53:00 -0400 (EDT)
- Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sensitivity: Company-Confidential
- Ua-Content-Id: D193ZXDWE4SKE
Art, et al,
I asked this question (perhaps from a slightly different
perspective) a while back and received several good information
packets. I say the sources were good mainly because I was
supprised at how many outlets seemed willing to manage mercury.
You may wish to check the archives for past info.
Pa started a one year pilot program for mercury lamp recycling
about 1.5 years ago (I think the hope was that mercury containing
devices would be adopted under the Universal Waste Rule),
designating two in-state facilities to which lamps could be sent
without licensed haz waste transporters or manifests. I believe
both facilities will handle other mercury containing devices. As
indicated, the program has been extended into a second year so I
assume there have been few problems (or the program is slowly
developing). I lean toward the few problems end since the list of
facilities has been expanded to 11 facilities, many out of state
(Ma., O.(USA Lamp & Ballast Recycling in Cincinnati...warning, I
have no knowledge specific to the facility or their compliance
status), Mn., In., Wy.).
The removal of transporter and manifest requirements seemed to
greatly help the recycling effort. Cost-wise, recycling is
expected to be less expensive than disposal cost.
This doesn't fully address cost and handling issues, so here are a
few other ideas. (I like to think of mercury as "scrap metal"
although the formal definition doesn't fit, regulatory-wise. Haz
waste regulations are somewhat more relaxed if mercury is managed
as a "recyclable" or under a state program which relaxes handling
1) Mercury info I received indicated that precious metal brokers
may manage small amounts of mercury . (Mercury containing
equipment may be another issue but in some ways, "contained"
mercury may help insure purity, source, etc.) Most towns have a
metal broker of some sort.
2) Scrap metal recyclers may be willing to manage the materials
(bulk or in equipment) through their brokers.
3) Someone somewhere suggested checking with dentists/hospitals (I
never explored this lead, but would be interested if anyone ever
4) Since we had some episodes of high school kids intentionally
spilling mercury (to shut down school), our Dept. Emergency
Response People advertised that they were willing to pick up bulk
mercury or mercury containing equipment (not lamps) upon request.
I understand around 1000 pounds of mercury was collected from a
relatively small area of the state. It was eventually shipped to
one of the lamp recyclers with the state picking up the tab. This
was viewed as less expensive than responding to potential spills,
which rapidly became big news in our area, every time someone
broke a thermometer.
5) I have encouraged many facilities to combine their lamp
shipments to reduce costs. This seems most effective for
neighboring companies located in industrial parks. I am aware of
some companies that will run a truck past several of their
locations on the way to a recycler.
It should be noted, perhaps under more of en energy efficiency
heading, that lamp change-outs are most effective when all lamps
are changed out at the same time. Fluorescent lamp life spans are
relatively consistent once you get all fixtures "on the same
page", so to speak. This can minimize storage times and increase
I'd be interested in hearing from others on this topic.