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All Fluorescent Lamps and Tubes Should Be Recycled or Disposed as Hazardous Waste

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As a commercial property manager, we contract with lighting companies for monthly exterior light replacement. On retail shopping centers, this can include not just parking lot lights, but building lights, soffits, etc. And in the case of office buildings, the interior lights which are often replaced by janitorial companies. It is important that all lighting companies conform to industry standards and code requirements regarding recycling. Lighting companies should be inspected annually and certified for proper recycling.

All fluorescent lamps and tubes are considered hazardous waste in California when they are discarded because they contain mercury. (Title 22, division 4.5, chapter 11, section 66261.50) This includes:

Fluorescent lamps and tubes:
• Fluorescent tubes, including low mercury tubes.
• Compact fluorescents, including low mercury lamps.

High Intensity Discharge (HID) Lamps:
• Metal halide lamps, such as floodlights for large indoor and outdoor areas and gymnasiums.
• Sodium lamps, such as those sometimes used as security lighting and outdoor floodlights.
• Mercury vapor lamps, such as those sometimes used for street lighting.

All fluorescent lamps and tubes must be recycled, or taken to a household hazardous waste disposal facility, a universal waste handler (e.g., storage facility or broker), or an authorized recycling facility. (Title 22, division 4.5, chapter 23, section 66273.8) (The law requiring that fluorescent lamps be recycled or taken to a household hazardous waste disposal facility, a universal waste handler, or an authorized recycling facility has been in effect since February 9, 2006.)

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