Lights out for incandescent bulbs

By provincial law, B.C. consumers are being encouraged to buy only compact fluorescent light bulbs.

  • Feb. 3, 2011 7:00 p.m.

By provincial law, B.C. consumers are being encouraged to buy only compact fluorescent light bulbs.

Both 75 and 100 watt incandescent bulbs will soon be extinct, although those bulbs of lower wattage will remain available. With the ability to purchase and use in mass quantity comes the quandary of what to do with CFLs at the end of their life, since they contain mercury and need to be disposed of properly.

CFLs, like tires and batteries and countless other consumer products, fall into the province’s product stewardship category, which means the government mandates producers to create a recycling program with a disposal fee charged in advance.

Like Encorp for bottles, Product Care looks after CFLs that, in Williams Lake, can be taken to the Canadian Tire for disposal.

“Product Care will be collecting the advanced disposal fees for the light bulbs and it is their responsibility to identify and set up drop-off locations in each community,” say Cariboo Regional District staff.

However, only bulbs used for residential purposes and fluorescent tubes can be disposed of in this manner; there isn’t yet a recycling stream for commercial CFLs.

An option for commercial users of CFLs is to purchase a bulb crusher that breaks the bulb down into several components, and separates them.

The pieces are then picked up and taken to the smelter in Trail for recycling.