New program makes it easier to recycle CFL and fluorescent light bulbs

A new program will offer locations in Pierce County for people to recycle for free fluorescent lights and other mercury-containing lights such as compact fluorescent bulbs.

The program, LightRecycle Washington, has established 130 sites statewide that will accept the highly used bulbs, including dropoffs at local hardware stores and other businesses across Pierce County.

It is illegal to throw away mercury-containing lights in the regular garbage.

Lights accepted under the program include traditional fluorescent tubes, including straight, curved and circular; twisted compact fluorescent lights, or CFLs; and high-intensity discharge lights commonly used in outdoor fixtures.

The program does not accept fixtures or ballasts.

There is a limit of 10 lights dropped off per day.

The new program is paid for by a 25-cent environmental handling charge applied to mercury-containing lights when they’re sold.

The website lightrecyclewa.org was set up to help people find the nearest location to drop off lights.

EcoLights Northwest in Seattle will take the lights collected through the program and break then down into recyclable components, including the mercury, to be refined and reused.

The is run by the nonprofit PCA Product Stewardship Inc., working with retailers, lighting manufacturers, municipal waste facilities and the state Department of Ecology.