Just about everyone knows that tossing light bulbs, especially CFLs, and batteries into the trash is a no-no. Batteries and light bulbs have dangerous elements that need to be disposed of properly. Throwing burned out CFL light bulbs in the trash can break them releasing dangerous mercury vapors that can damage you and your pets. ReVend Recycling has come up with an easy way to dispose of all of that hazardous waste while giving you a little something in return.
According to Earth 911, reVend Recycling in conjunction with Repant has developed reverse vending machines into which you deposit your batteries and light bulbs. It is a simple easy solution to a really big problem. The first such vending machine was installed in a London IKEA. In exchange for batteries and light bulbs, the machine would issue store credit that could be used on site. If you did’t want IKEA credit you could donate your recycling funds to one of four charities: “the World Wildlife Fund, Woodland Trust, UNICEF and Save the Children.”
The companies plan to expand their reverse vending machines throughout the world. Here in the United States, its hard to know what to do with batteries and light bulbs if you don’t live close to a landfill. Most landfills have areas where you can drop off hazardous household waste and electronics. but most people don’t make regular trips to their local dump. Recycling generally ends with paper, numbers 1 and 2 plastics and soda cans and bottles.
It’s especially difficult to know what to do with light bulbs. Renewables at Home lists the hazardous materials that are contained in even the common incandescent bulb. Incandescent light bulbs have high levels of lead. Florescent and compact florescent (CFL) light bulbs have mercury. Lead can leech into the soil and pollute our waterways and aquifers. Mercury vapor can cause a variety of ills including:
Mercury vapor is highly dangerous to breathe in, and can cause major damage to the lungs and the nervous system. Mercury will also damage fetuses, genes, livers and kidneys. It may also cause mental illness.
Tossing CFLs in the trash can literally be hazardous to your health. Renewables at Home lists IKEA stores in the US and Europe as places to drop off your used light bulbs. Other places can be found at Earth 911.
Imagine how much easier it would be to get rid of light bulbs and batteries if reVend and Repant vending machines were in your local grocery store, Wal-Mart and/or hardware store. Maybe someday….