EverLight’s Zero Landfill Recycling Process: What Do They Do With Your Light Bulbs?


Fluorescent light bulbs can last up to ten times longer than traditional bulbs and are up to 75% more energy efficient than their incandescent counterparts. Better still, almost every part of a fluorescent bulb can be recycled.

EverLights, a Chicago-based company that collects bulbs from all over the United States, utilizes one of the most efficient bulb recycling processes in the industry to recycle your bulbs with minimal waste and harm to the environment.

The Zero-Landfill Approach

EverLights maintains a zero-landfill policy. An efficient and economical approach to recycling, the zero-landfill philosophy focuses on reusing and recycling as many parts of a product as possible.

Loss of energy and valuable resources is minimized, and fewer potentially dangerous compounds, such as the mercury in fluorescent bulbs, are bled into the environment.

The Recycling Process

In order to keep their bulb recycling in line with their philosophy, EverLights uses cutting edge machinery at their EPA-certified recycling facility. The machine takes in a linear fluorescent bulb and, through a crushing and filtering process, breaks the lamp down into four components.

The process is completed inside of the machine to minimize any chance of mercury leakage, and the non-mercury products are thoroughly cleaned of mercury residue.

The bulb parts are separated into glass, phosphor powder, aluminum end caps, and mercury. The four products are then sent to different industries to be reused.

Mercury and phosphorous power can go right back into making new fluorescent bulbs. The aluminum end caps can be made into a variety of new aluminum products, and the glass can be made into fiber glass insulation.

Mercury: A Little Goes A Long Way

Concerns over mercury pollution have drawn the attention of the public and government regulators in recent years. People are most commonly exposed to mercury by eating contaminated fish.

Mercury is a neurotoxin that can also damage the liver and kidneys. Children that are exposed to mercury while in the wombγ€€have a higher risk of birth defectsΒ and developmental disabilities such as autism.

It can take a mere gram of mercury a year to, over time, contaminate a twenty-acre lake. EverLights’ state-of-the-art fluorescent bulb recycling system can process up to 5,000fluorescent bulbs an hour, keeping between 25 and 100 grams of mercury out of the environment an hour.

EverLights’ Recycling Services

Everlights was established over concerns about mercury disposal. In 1995, Patt Gallagher found she could not recycle her spent fluorescent bulbs.

Concerned about the number of fluorescent bulbs potentially being dumped into landfills, Patt and her daughter Kelly pushed state legislation through regarding recycling fluorescent bulbs and established Everlights.

Everlights now recycles not only fluorescent bulbs but also batteries, ballast, mercury and electronics such as computers. Everlights also handles hazardous waste disposal and isγ€€LEED-certified to perform energy audits.

They promote energy-efficient solutions to lighting and electricity that are not only cost-effective but less harmful to the environment.

Recycling fluorescent bulbs not only helps companies avoid fines but reduces mercury contamination in the environment. Each bulb you send to EverLights recycles between 5 and 20 milligrams of mercury as well as aluminum and glass that would otherwise sit indefinitely in a landfill.

The end of the line for your eco-conscious, energy-efficient bulb choice can be just as environmentally friendly and economical as the bulb itself.

GE also claims that each hybrid bulb only contains 1 milligram of mercury. If true, that is significant. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the average CFL light bulb contains about 4 milligrams of mercury.

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