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Fluorescent Lamp Recycling Programme
 
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Why mercury-containing lamps need proper collection and disposal


Mercury is well documented as harmful to humans and the environment. However, fluorescent lamps only have small amounts of mercury and are safe to use. The average compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) contains 4 milligrams or less of mercury, or about 1/100th of the amount found in a mercury thermometer. Fluorescent tubes contain a little more mercury.

These light sources do not pose a health risk when intact. When they are broken, they should be handled with care.

 
Existing controls on mercury-containing waste


The Waste Disposal Ordinance requires large producers of mercury-containing lamps to properly collect and dispose of the waste. The lamps are taken to the Chemical Waste Treatment Centre, which has special handling and storage arrangements for the lamps. The mercury is separated and recycled, and the broken lamp pieces are treated before being sent to landfills for disposal.

 
Recycling spent fluorescent lamps


Licensed chemical waste collectors pick up the spent lamps from designated points and deliver them to the mercury treatment facility at the Chemical Waste Treatment Centre. The treatment facility was commissioned in 2004 to handle mercury-containing waste such as lamps, thermometers and blood-pressure meters. The facility was upgraded in 2012 and its annual capacity is around 3,500,000 mercury-containing lamps. The facility has 6 treatment units to separate the mercury glass, metal and other lamp components. Mercury bearing powder and metal parts are heated up in a distiller to recover the mercury for recycling, and the remaining waste is treated before being sent to the landfill for disposal.


Lamp Processor

Compact Crush & Separation Unit
HID Lamp Crusher
 
Compact Crush & Separation (CCS) and HID Lamp Crusher
 
 
 
Treatment Process
Treatment Process
 
Fluorescent lamps and tubes are fed into the CCS and HID Lamp Crusher for separation into glass fraction, phosphor powder and metal parts.
 
 
 
Treatment Process
Treatment Process
 
Mercury bearing powder or metal parts are then heated up in the distiller where mercury will be vaporized. After that, mercury vapour is condensed and recovered.
 
 
 
 
Producer Responsibility Schemes in Hong Kong


The Fluorescent Lamp Recycling Programme is the third voluntary trade-funded Producer Responsibility Scheme (PRS) in Hong Kong. Under the PRS concept, manufacturers and suppliers have to take responsibility for the proper management of their end-of-life products, such as funding and organising a recycling programme.

The first voluntary PRS in Hong Kong was launched in April 2005 for rechargeable batteries, and this was followed by the Computer Recycling Programme.

 
Resources
1. Application Form  
2. Guideline
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Guidance Notes - Participating Housing Estates (registered chemical waste producers)
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Guidance Notes - Participating Housing Estates (non chemical waste producers)
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Guidance Notes - Commercial and Industrial Chemical Waste Producer
 
3. Poster   
4. Recycle Clean - Fluorescent Lamp  
5. Collection Box
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Public Collection Point
 
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Compact Fluorescent Lamps ONLY
 
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Compact Fluorescent Lamps and Fluorescent Tubes
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Estate
 
6.

Chemical Waste Producer Application Form

 

7.

Loan Out Service of Education Materials
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Loan Form
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List of Materials for Loan

 

 

 
FAQ
1. How much mercury is contained inside a CFL or fluorescent lamp?

 

 

Fluorescent lamps contain small amount of mercury sealed within the glass tubing. For example, an average compact fluorescent lamp contains about 4 milligrams of mercury or less, which is only 1/100th of the amount of mercury found in a mercury thermometer. Fluorescent lamps may contain up to 15 milligrams, depending on the type, brand and date of manufacture. Many lamp suppliers have reduced the amount of mercury in their lamps over the past 20 years.

2. What are the health effects of mercury exposure?

 

 

When a fluorescent lamp is broken, the health risk is minimal since the mercury content of the lamp is small. Broken lamps should be handled properly (see Question 3).
3. What should I do if a fluorescent lamp breaks in my house?
  While fluorescent lamps contain a very small amount of mercury, and care should be taken when they break. The following precautionary measures are recommended for cleaning up broken lamps:
a. Do not use ordinary residential and commercial floor vacuums, floor vacuums that trap dirt with water, or wet/dry shop vacuums. (For vacuum cleaning, only vacuums designed specifically for hazardous waste may be used.)
b.

Instead of vacuum cleaning, wear latex gloves and carefully clean up the fragments. Wipe the area with a damp disposable paper towel to remove all glass fragments and mercury drops.

c.

Keep all people and pets away from the area so that mercury-containing pieces and powder are not tracked into other areas.

d.

Keep the area well ventilated to disperse any vapor that may escape.

e.

After the clean up is complete, place all fragments along with cleaning materials into a sealable plastic bag. Wash your hands.

  * Source - California Integrated Waste Management Board
4. What should I do if I break a fluorescent lamp when I put it in the collection box?

 

Provided that it is properly wrapped with the lamp packing, fluorescent lamp seldom breaks when it is put in the collection box. In case a fluorescent lamp breaks when you put it in the collection box, please close the cover of the collection box, inform the counter staff of the collection point immediately, and wash your hands. The staff will seal the plastic bag inside the collection box to prevent leakage, and remove the bag for proper disposal.
5. What are the advantages of using a compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) or other fluorescent lamps?

 

 

CFLs and other fluorescent lamps may cost more up front, but they save money in the long run. CFLs in particular require less than a quarter of the energy needed to provide the same amount of light from ordinary incandescent bulb, and they last up to 10 times longer. Their energy efficiency helps to reduce greenhouse gases released from coal-burning power plants. They also give off less heat, which can help in hot summer months. The public is encouraged to use CFLs and to recycle mercury-containing lamps after use.
6. What happens to CFLs and other fluorescent lamps when they are recycled?

 

Fluorescent lamps are made of metal, glass, mercury and phosphor powder. The Chemical Waste Treatment Centre has a treatment facility designed to separate the mercury for recycling, while other components are treated before disposal.

 

Activities

10th Anniversary Ceremony for Recycling Programmes under
Voluntary Producer Responsibility Scheme (24 Aug 2015) 

10th ​Anniversary Ceremony for Recycling Programme under Voluntary Producer Responsibility Scheme

WEEE Do Recycle Photo Contest (Nov 2014 – Mar 2015)
The award ceremony of WEEE Do Recycle Photo Contest
 
WEEE Like Recycle in HK Creative Short Film Contest
(Jan - May 2013)
WEEE Like Recycle in HK Creative Short Film Contest (2013)
 
Anniversary Ceremony for Programmes under
Voluntary Producer Responsibility Scheme (3 Dec 2011)
Anniversary Ceremony for Programmes under Voluntary Producer Responsibility Scheme (3 Dec 2011)
 
Launching Ceremony (15 Mar 2008)
Launching Ceremony (15 Mar 2008)
 
 
Video 
 
Video 1 - Recycle Clean - Fluorescent Lamp
Video<br />
    1 - Recycle Clean - Fluorescent Lamp
 
Video 2 (2013 Version) (Chinese Version Only)
Video<br />
    2 (2013 Version) (Chinese Version Only)  
 
Video 3 - Fluorescent Lamp Recycling Programme
 
Main Content
Video 3 - Fluorescent Lamp Recycling Programme
 
Smart Tips 1 -- How to return used fluorescent lamps?
Tips 1 -- How to return used fluorescent lamps?
 
Smart Tips 2 -- What should I do if I break a fluorescent lamp?
Tips 2 -- What should I do if I break a fluorescent lamp?
 
 
 
Useful Contacts
   
  - Arrangement of Collection Service for Participating Estates:
     
  Registered as chemical waste producers - CWTC Customer Service : 2434 6450
  Not registered as chemical waste producers - Collector Hotline : 5482 8391 (Vannex International Limited)
 
     
      - FLRP Enrolment Hotline: 5575 4068 (Helpdesk)