Proposal would require recycling of compact fluorescent lightingWisconsin lawmakers want manufacturers of compact fluorescent lighting to play a bigger role in recycling the bulbs. It’s part of an effort to cut down on the amount of mercury that ends up in the state’s landfills.
By: Kirk Carapezza, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
Wisconsin lawmakers want manufacturers of compact fluorescent lighting to play a bigger role in recycling the bulbs. It’s part of an effort to cut down on the amount of mercury that ends up in the state’s landfills.
The plan would ban dumping the energy-saving bulbs into landfills by 2013. It would aim to recycle at least 70-percent of them by 2015. And it would make producers provide consumers with more recycling centers for spent bulbs.
State Senator Bob Jauch of Poplar is the bill’s sponsor. He told lawmakers that manufacturers expect the public to solve any environmental problems the bulbs might cause. He says manufacturers “should have a responsibility in not only writing a good ad for the Super Bowl but they ought to have a responsibility for that product from the moment it leaves their plant to the end of its life.”
Supporters say the recycling plan would help keep mercury out of the state’s waterways. Compact fluorescent light bulbs contain small amounts of mercury which can cause neurological and other health problems in people.
But critics, like Mark Kohorst of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, say the proposal is premature, and that producers can’t afford to collect spent bulbs. He says there’s no model for a producer funded system for household lamp recycling that has been shown to work efficiently and be economically sustainable. He says other products are “not precedence. A $2 lamp is vastly different from a $700 dollar TV.”
The DNR estimates just two percent of compact fluorescent bulbs sold in Wisconsin are recycled. Maine and Washington already require manufacturers of the bulbs to have recycling programs in place.