A lighting upgrade usually results in a number of lamps that need to be thrown away. Disposing of old lamps needs to be done carefully as some lamps contain mercury, lead or other substances that are harmful to humans and the environment.
Incandescent globes are being phased out completely for their lack of energy efficiency and replaced by more efficient forms of lighting. These lamps don't contain harmful substances, and are therefore safe to dispose of in a normal rubbish bin after wrapping them in tissue or a bag to prevent glass breaks and injuries.
Halogen globes are a type of incandescent light with small halogen components, and do not contain any hazardous materials. They are also slowly being replaced by eco-friendly lighting options such as CFLs and LEDs. Being free of hazardous materials, halogen bulbs are safe to throw away in the everyday bin, wrapped in paper or a bag to prevent cuts from broken glass.
Sodium vapour lamps are a type of High Intensity Discharge (HID) lamps that use sodium to produce light. Consisting of sodium, neon and argon, with some containing mercury, these lamps should be disposed of at special waste disposal locations to prevent the release of any harmful chemicals.
Mercury vapour lamps are also a type of HID lamps, vaporising mercury to produce light. As it contains a large amount of mercury, which is harmful to humans and the environment when released into the air, it is necessary to take them to a safe waste disposal centre.
Metal halide lamps are another type of HID lamps, producing light using a gaseous mixture of vaporised mercury and metal halides. These lamps also need care when being discarded and should be taken to special waste disposal locations.
Fluorescent lamps, such as PLC lamps, Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) and fluorescent tubes are mercury vapour lamps that use fluorescence to produce light. As fluorescent lamps contain mercury, they are classified as hazardous and need to be disposed of at special sites.
Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) are the latest and most energy efficient lights available in the market. Most LEDs do not contain any harmful substances and are fully recyclable, which helps reduce landfill. However, some LEDs may contain harmful substances, but their durability prevents leaching of these substances into the atmosphere.
Correct disposal of old lamps is important for health reasons, as well as environmental factors. Residential users can find their local safe disposal drop-off locations, while businesses who need larger quantities thrown out can organise pick-up collection services.
Local disposal centres can be found on the websites of FluoroCycle, Recycling Near You, SITA Australia, Business Recycling, Zero Waste South Australia and NSW EPA.
ANL Lighting is a distributor of commercial light fittings, lamps, electronic transformers, bollards, LED lighting and downlights.