Wisconsin to consider CFL recycling legislation

by admin on March 23, 2010

Posted: Mar 22, 2010 3:37 PM EDT

MADISON (WKOW) — The Wisconsin State Senate will hold a public hearing on Tuesday regarding a bill that would offer Wisconsin consumers a more convenient way to recycle used compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). Senate Bill 629 is aimed at keeping toxic mercury out of the state’s environment.

“Make no mistake, compact fluorescent light bulbs are great for our environment and help lower mercury pollution by reducing our need for coal-fired power, the largest source of mercury pollution,” said Amber Meyer Smith, program director at Clean Wisconsin. “They do contain a small amount of mercury themselves, so properly recycling more of these energy-saving bulbs will ensure that mercury reductions go even farther.”

According to 2007 statistics, lighting is responsible for 15 percent of mercury product use. Senate Bill 629  is modeled after the electronic waste recycling bill passed in 2009. The bill would keep more mercury out of Wisconsin’s environment by requiring makers of CFLs to offer consumers a convenient place to properly recycle used bulbs. The bill would establish a goal of recycling 70 percent of CFLs sold in Wisconsin.

“No one should use mercury as an excuse not to use CFLs, but everyone should keep as much mercury out of our environment as possible by properly recycling spent bulbs,” said Smith. “This bill will ensure that doing so is not a burden for consumers.”

Chronic exposure to mercury can cause memory loss, speech difficulties, vision problems and cardiovascular problems in adults. Children and the unborn can face neurological damage that impairs development, leads to low intelligence and inhibits school performance. People are usually exposed to mercury by eating fish that swim in polluted waters.

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