Colorado State Prison System Uses BulbEater to Recycle Lamps

Correctional facilities face a number of unique challenges unheard of in other large, multiuse properties.  Combining living space, industrial operations and heightened security needs puts lighting at a priority.  Burned-out fluorescent lamps are not just a nuisance but can be a life-threatening situation.  For that reason, correctional facility managers must stay ahead of lamp replacement.  Most will seek to replace lamps before the end of their practical lifecycle which can often result in the need to dispose of hundreds, if not thousands of lamps at a time.

The EPA requires that correctional facilities recycle all spent mercury-containing lamps.  With linear and U-bend fluorescent lamps in such great numbers at these facilities, it is important to understand how to remain compliant.  Failure to do so can result in violations and fines that could have been easily prevented.

“Correctional facilities are no different than any other non-residential fluorescent lamp user to the EPA,” explains Joe Day, Account Manager at TerraCycle Regulated Waste.  “The rules governing hazardous waste apply, just the same.  They must recycle all fluorescent lamps, as well as any other mercury-containing lamps.”

A facility will fall into one of three waste generator categories, based on the amount of total hazardous waste they generate per month.

  • Very Small Quantity Generators (VSQGs) generate 100 kilograms or less per month of hazardous waste or one kilogram or less per month of acutely hazardous waste.
  • Small Quantity Generators (SQGs) generate more than 100 kilograms, but less than 1,000 kilograms of hazardous waste per month.
  • Large Quantity Generators (LQGs) generate 1,000 kilograms per month or more of hazardous waste or more than one kilogram per month of acutely hazardous waste.

The materials that are considered ‘hazardous waste’ include fluorescent and mercury-containing lamps, paint, insecticides and fertilizers, batteries, and cleaning supplies.  Keeping these waste products in storage, on-site until pick up by a registered hazardous waste hauler is not uncommon, but must follow the federal guidelines.

For fluorescent lamps, that means storing in a way that prevents accidental breakage of the lamps and potential contamination by the release of the mercury contained in the lamps.  To achieve this, some larger facilities use a drum-top lamp crusher like the Bulb Eater 3®.  A lamp crusher is a device that crushes the glass tube of the fluorescent lamp in a vacuum system that captures the mercury before it can be released into the atmosphere.  The crushing of the lamps compacts the waste volume by as much as 80%, making storage much more manageable.  With a capacity of approximately 1350 T8 fluorescent lamps per 55-gallon steel drum, storage space is well controlled by lamp crushing.

BulbEater3
BulbEater 3 with U-Bend/CFL chute attachment

“Our combined efforts will truly make a difference not only with complying with local regulations, but also with being good stewards for the environment.”  States Dave Bechtle, Colorado Department of Corrections.  Colorado purchased Bulb Eater 3® units in 2017 for all nine state penitentiaries.

For specialty lighting, like safety-sealed fluorescent lamps, drum-top bulb crushing is not appropriate.  To properly dispose of these types of lamps, a facility can purchase EasyPak self-sealing containers or PalletPak containers for larger quantities.  It is very important to note that the EPA requires that any spent lamps being stored at a facility until shipping is able to be efficiently facilitated must be kept in containers that prevent the accidental breakage and can capture any mercury, should there be accidental release.  Corrugated boxes or fiber drums used as storage must either be lined with plastic or contain an integrated seal, like EasyPak boxes.

Drum-top crushing is not approved in all states, so it is important to speak to a lamp recycling specialist to determine the best practices in your region.  Understanding how many lamps per month or year a facility is generating will make it easy to create a recycling plan that fulfills EPA compliance standards and meets the needs of the property—both in safety and security.

Illegal disposal of fluorescent lamps can be a costly mistake

Fluorescent lamps
Fluorescent lamps illegally dumped

In 1976, the federal government passed the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).  The act has been amended several times, giving the EPA definitions and guidelines that provide them the ability to take action against facilities and businesses that fail to meet regulations for the health and safety of people and the environment.  An important subsection of the RCRA regulations addresses the handling of waste, and more specifically, regulated waste.

According to EPA records, over the last two years hundreds of companies and facilities have been fined for failing to comply with the EPA’s rules on the handling of universal waste.  Fines typically range from $3,000 to $9,000, but some have been recorded as high as tens of thousands for substantial violators. A check of the inspection records for several states and regions indicates that cited violators were not limited to large universal waste producers or any specific industry.  From small, public schools to major corporations, any facility that utilizes fluorescent lighting can find themselves in trouble if their universal waste is not properly managed.

According to the Cornell Law School, the EPA has the authority to inspect and levy fines for failure to properly handle hazardous waste under Code of Federal Regulations (40 CFR Part 273, Subpart A – General).  Fluorescent lamps, batteries, pesticides and mercury-containing equipment are specifically defined as “Universal Waste” by the EPA, and are subject to heightened scrutiny because of the potential danger to the environment when not properly disposed of or recycled.

For example according to the EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) website, two universities in the Upstate region of South Carolina were recently fined in excess of $12,000 combined for RCRA violations.  A retail chain store in Kentucky was fined $3,750 by their state DEP when the federal EPA recorded the violation.  Additionally, the management team at that Kentucky store was required to attend an Enforcement Conference with the EPA.  But perhaps the most notable financial penalty for improper disposal of hazardous and universal waste in the last year is the $27.84 Million Home Depot agreed to pay to California.

Fortunately, fines and citations are easily preventable, if you work with a registered, reputable hazardous waste handler.  A certified universal waste recycler can provide facility management with a clear record of their waste’s proper handling and will provide a Certificate of Recycling Compliance for future reference.  Having an understanding of your recycler’s downstream procedures can be the difference between an uneventful inspection and a disciplinary action.

The most recent federal budget slashes the EPA funding by 23%, causing a large reduction in staff.  This might mean more pressure on inspectors to find actionable violations.  With less direct budgetary funding, it could also mean the EPA will be looking to increase the financial impact of fines and violations to help defray the cost of other important programs.  It becomes all the more important for a business or facility to have the necessary documentation of compliance.

EasyPak
TerraCycle EasyPak fluorescent lamp recycling box

 

Depending on the amount of universal waste a facility is producing, there are good options for EPA-compliance.  A smaller facility that isn’t producing much hazardous waste, say 100 kilograms (220 lbs.) or less a month, is considered a very small quantity generator (VSQG).  Setting up a box and store program for their fluorescent lamps, like an EasyPakTM box, will most likely be enough to remain compliant.

A mid-sized or larger facility could fall into either the small quantity generator (SQG) or large quantity generator (LQG) category.  Depending on a number of factors, such as the number of waste lamps generated each month and available storage space, a facility might consider a drum-top bulb crusher like the BulbEater3L® for their compliance needs (check local regulations for approval).  For very large quantities of waste lamps, a facility can set up a bulk pick-up to clear their property of potentially hazardous lamps.

The key is to get ahead of the violations before the EPA comes to inspect a facility.  No manager wants to have to spend money on a fine, plus find themselves under greater scrutiny when a situation is easily preventable.  The solutions cost a fraction of the fines the EPA can levy and prevent the embarrassment of citation.

Universal Waste and the EPA: How Can Your Business Follow the Law?

Universal Waste Management

Are you sure your business is following all the laws and regulations regarding the disposal and recycling of universal waste? The EPA has always tried to inform businesses and business owners about the laws, reasoning, and methods of proper universal waste management. However, recently they’ve made even better efforts to make sure that businesses understand everything there is to know about universal waste management. At AirCycle, we take these important regulations seriously and know that our universal waste recycling programs meet all expectations set by the EPA and will make your recycling plan easier and more efficient.

AirCycle has been actively involved in making sure that our methods of universal waste management, including bulb recycling, recycling by mail, bulk pickups, and compact recycling methods, are fine-tuned to meet your standards of ease and the EPA’s standard of effectiveness. Overall, our record is stellar when it comes to our sustainability impact. We’ve kept over 5 million acres of oxygen levels pure, recycled over 250 thousand grams of mercury, 2.5 million pounds of batteries, and 7 million pounds of ballasts. When evaluating your recycling plan to see if it fits the regulations set by the EPA, here are a few things you need to know:

1. What materials can be classified as universal waste?
It all depends on your state. Some of the general items classified under the EPA regulatory history of universal waste management includes batteries, pesticides, thermostats, lamps, and mercury-containing equipment. This being said, every state can differ on what exactly is defined by the term universal waste. To make absolutely certain that your business recognizes every universal waste that is produced and needs recycling, check your state’s complete list of what could be classified as universal waste.

2. Who can transport universal waste?
Universal waste can be transported by members of the business who produced it or by a third-party. The caveat here, however, is that the person who transports such waste, which could be hazardous, has to follow the Subpart D guidelines of the federal standards for universal waste management. At AirCycle, we have programs to make this part easier than if you were to do it yourself. With our bulk pickups and EasyPak total management programs, we can make the recycling fast and easy. Just collect and/or send us your waste, and we’ll handle all the rest!

3. Can’t I just toss my used bulbs in the landfill?
The answer is a stiff “no” in the eyes of the EPA and in terms of environmental and health protection. Right now, the most efficient bulbs on the market utilize mercury to lower energy use and reduce the amount of mercury that is released from other power plants. While using these bulbs greatly reduces the amount of mercury produced by power plants and the making of other bulbs, simply throwing out your fluorescent bulbs can result in serious health risks and damage the environment.

This is where our state-of-the-art Bulb Eaters® come in handy. Our Bulb Eater 3® and our new Bulb Eater 3L® machines offer great benefits when it comes to the handling and safe disposable of fluorescent lightbulbs. Using the Bulb Eater® machines allows your business to save up to 50% on recycling costs, maximize storage space by up to 80%, and reduce recycling labor by 20 hours per 1,000 lamps crushed. EPA studies have shown that self-transportation, or even third-party transportation, by way of boxing bulbs can cause a 2-3% accidental breakage rate, raising the liability associated with your recycling program. With our recycling advice and programs, we’ll be able to lower your emission levels down to just .001%. Our testimonials speak for themselves, as many have said the purchase of the Bulb Eater 3® has made their experiences with recycling universal waste easier, more cost effective, and a great addition to their environmental protection programs.

AirCycle strives to make your life easier when it comes to universal waste management. Following the law and saving money, of course, already sounds like a great plan for your business. However, the best part of hiring us to fulfill your universal waste needs is the positive impact your business will be making upon the environment for years to come. AirCycle has so many options when it comes to recycling universal waste, and any of them can fit your needs as a business. Contact us today to find out what steps you can take to follow the law, save money, and prevent a damaging footprint on the planet.

Air Cycle Highlights Many Accomplishments This Year

Did you know that the national lamp recycling rate in the commercial and industrial sectors is at only 30%? At Air Cycle, we make it our goal to provide easy, time-saving, and affordable solutions for corporate waste recycling to help increase those recycling numbers. In 2017, we were able to expand our reach and continue to help our customers. Below are a few of things that we accomplished in 2017 that will work to increase national recycling rates:

New Product Launch

Bulb Eater 3LThis year, Air Cycle released a new addition into our bulb crusher family of products: The Bulb Eater 3L (BE3L). With a more compact size, the BE3L packs the same powerful technology that our Bulb Eater users rave about. This product makes it easier for businesses to be environmentally conscious while saving time, money and space!

The Bulb Eater 3L has many of the features of the award-winning Bulb Eater® 3, but is offered at a reduced cost and is the perfect solution for those wanting to save money while reducing labor and recycling costs.

Expanding services to the UK

new UK DistributorYou may remember hearing about our trip across the pond recently. 2017 brought on new products and also new expansions. Air Cycle has now partnered with JARSHIRE Waste & Recycling to provide businesses in the UK with our top of the line recycling products and services.

To date, Air Cycle’s simple, sustainable solutions are available in nine (9) countries across the globe. To learn more about our international programs or find out if our services are available in your country, visit us online.

Continued Focus on Waste Reduction Worldwide

Air Cycle continues to add daily to its worldwide focus of universal waste reduction totals more than ever! Currently, we are proud to share the following savings to our environment:
• 5,052,257 acres of water kept pure
• 252,613 grams of hazardous mercury recycled
• 2,565,296 lbs of batteries recycled
• 7,300,321 lbs of ballasts recycled

As we embark on a new year, Air Cycle looks forward to increasing those numbers and making more of an impact helping other companies reach their sustainability goals.

TerraCycle

TerracycleOur biggest news of the year is that we have proudly joined forces with TerraCycle! Headquartered in Trenton, NJ, TerraCycle is the global leader in collecting and repurposing hard-to-recycle waste. Operating in over 20 countries, engaging over 60 million people, and recycling billions of pieces of waste through various innovative platforms, TerraCycle is focused on Eliminating the Idea of Waste®

Through the acquisition of the Air Cycle assets, TerraCycle makes its entry into the universal waste market—the company’s first “regulated” waste market. We are excited to begin this new venture with TerraCycle and provide our clients with new recycling solutions!

We thank each and every one of our clients for their continued support and shared goals of improving the efficiencies of recycling programs in their organizations. To learn how you can save time, money, and valuable storage space with our services in 2018, contact us!

Air Cycle Corporation Crosses the Pond, Partners with New UK Distributor

Air Cycle Corporation is pleased to announce that we have entered into a distribution agreement with JARSHIRE Waste and Recycling located in Slough, UK to represent us in the United Kingdom.

In addition to providing broad waste services in the UK, they have developed a mobile Material Recycling Facility (MRF) that is typically deployed on drilling rigs. Our Bulb Eater® technology will be seamlessly incorporated into their existing MRF concept, which also typically includes bailing equipment, compactors and other volume reduction technology.

“JARSHIRE had tried a few other bulb crushers supplied in the past, but we were then recommended to use Air Cycle from one of our customers who had bought other equipment from us in the past, and they said they had also used Air Cycle and other suppliers of Bulb Eaters and that Air Cycle’s unit was the best on the market for quality, price and after sales. We are delighted to be representing Air Cycle.” – Nick Jobson: JARSHIRE

 

 

Why include The Bulb Eater®?

The Bulb Eater® crushes spent fluorescent lamps of any length into 100% recyclable material and captures over 99.99% of the vapors released. The system, which is mounted onto a 55-gallon container, can hold up to 1359 4-foot fluorescent lamps.

 

The Bulb Eater® will help your company:

  • Eliminate storage hassles – Reduce your needed storage space for lamps, The Bulb Eater® lamp crusher crushes all length lamps.
  • Reduce handling – Save roughly 20 hours of labor per 1000 lamps by crushing rather than boxing the lamps!
  • Create a safer work environment – The 0.001% emission rate from the Bulb Eater® lamp crushing system provides for less mercury vapor emission.
  • Cut costs – By pre-crushing the lamps, facilities are able to save money on their lamp recycling costs.

 

Our current customers rave about the ease of our programs.

We’ve had much success simplifying our recycling program using the Bulb Eater 3 we especially like the new features including the ability to crush our ever-increasing Compact Fluorescent lamps. Great Value.” – Brandon Goulet, Markley Group

 

Air Cycle is committed to improving the efficiencies of your recycling programs. Save time, money, and valuable storage space with our services. If you are in the UK and are interested in the services provided by Air Cycle, contact us today! For more information on our other international distributing, click here.

Prepare Your Budget for the Upcoming Fiscal Year

Are you planning your budget for the next fiscal year? Don’t forget about your corporate universal waste recycling program!

As the end of the fiscal year approaches, you may be wondering how you can appropriately disperse funds in the coming year. Spend your budget in a way that isn’t wasteful and will benefit your company as a whole.

Air Cycle offers companies simple, sustainable solutions that allow you to comply with Universal Waste regulations. Here are three of our solutions you may want to consider this year:

  1. Bulk Pick Up

For facilities over 150,000 square feet, bulk pickups provide a cost-effective solution for recycling large amounts of universal waste. Do you have fluorescent lamps, ballasts, batteries, and electronic waste you need removed? Our service area covers all 48 lower states.

Your packaged waste is picked up and delivered to one of our permitted recycling partners. Once the waste is recycled, you’ll receive a Certificate of Recycling to confirm proper handling and processing.

 

  1. The Bulb Eater 3

If saving money and creating a safer work environment are important to you, consider our Bulb Eater machines. The Bulb Eater 3 (and Bulb Eater 3L, created especially for smaller facilities) reduces risk and liability associated with improper disposal and reduces labor by up to 20 hours per 1,000 lamps. Why not make lamp recycling fun, while also saving money.

 

  1. EasyPak with Vapor Shield

We’ve proven that our EasyPak boxes beat out the competition. Not only are they incredibly easy to use, they’re also designed for simple compliance. Select your containers online, fill them according to the instructions listed, and send them back to us. Once you’re done, you can reorder boxes, or better yet, enroll in our Auto Reorder program. Your order history, Certificates of Recycling and recycling reports are readily available on-line.

 

At Air Cycle, we believe that recycling should be easy, not difficult or time consuming. That’s why we offer some of the easiest, most effective recycling programs in the world. Contact us today to learn more about our solutions: 800.909.9709.

Air Cycle Helped Improve Big Lake’s Household Hazardous Waste Management Program

The Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) facility of Riley County, Kansas partnered with Air Cycle Corporation to improve the program’s efficiency, while reducing the cost of spent fluorescent and HID lamps recycling.  Follow this account of the process that lead to our solution.


The Problem

Because the Big Lake HHW facility services 11 total counties in the area, fluorescent lamps quickly add up. Since lamps are lightweight and bulky, they take a disproportionate amount of space in the HHW facility storage area, as well as in the truck transporting it to the recycling facility. Fluorescent lamps represented 7.6% of the waste generated in Kansas, making Air Cycle’s Bulb Eater a perfect fit for Household Hazardous Waste programs. When Steve Oliver took over the HHW program, the facility had a large number of fluorescent lamps that had accumulated over a nearly 12-month period. He estimated that approximately 9,700 lamps of all shapes and sizes were being stored.

 

The Solution

The Riley County personnel purchased the Bulb Eater 3L model, which allowed them to process straight, circular, u-bent, and compact fluorescent lamps. It took Big Lake HHW personnel a total of 14.5 hours over the course of four days to complete the task of crushing the one-year spent lamp backlog. The completed project generated nine full drums and one partial drum of waste. Big Lake officials also tracked the amount and types of lamps placed in each drum and the resulting weight.

 

Impact

Over 14.5 hours, 9,268 total lamps were processed. When factoring the labor required to package, label, palletize the lamps to prepare them for shipment, and the recycling cost savings of transporting intact lamps versus crushed lamps, county officials estimated their savings to be $4,265.00 or about 50%, which allowed them to reduce the fees charged to users of their HHW programs by 50%.


To learn more about how Air Cycle helped Big Lake Regional HHW implement new processes that improved the program’s efficiencies and reduced cost, download our case study.

 

Air Cycle is committed to improving the efficiencies of  your recycling programs. Save time, money, and valuable storage space with our services. Contact us for a free review your current recycling program or for help with starting a new plan. Visit aircycle.com or call 800.909.9709 to speak with a recycling specialist about how we can help you.

Should your Facility Consider the New Bulb Eater Services Program?

With our new Bulb Eater Services Program, you can save time and money using our supplied award-winning Bulb Eater and be environmentally friendly at the same time! Perfect for schools, hotels, office buildings, or facilities with over 200,000 square feet of lighted space, our new Bulb Eater Services Program cuts expenses without breaking the bank.

Continue reading “Should your Facility Consider the New Bulb Eater Services Program?”

Save Money with Our New Bulb Eater Services Program

We are pleased to announce the introduction of our Bulb Eater Services Program. A program designed for any facility, regardless of size, that includes the use of a Bulb Eater 3 or our new Bulb Eater 3L!

Continue reading “Save Money with Our New Bulb Eater Services Program”

Thinking of an LED Retrofit? Air Cycle’s solutions save you money!

Considering an LED Retrofit for your traditional lighting fixtures and fluorescents? Let Air Cycle alleviate the waste of your old fluorescent lights with our Bulk Pickup, or EasyPak services that take the hassle out of recycling. When it’s time to switch to LED lighting in your facility it can be costly, but with our efficient services Air Cycle will take the waste off your hands and assist you to go-green economically.

Air Cycle’s Bulk Pickup Recycling Service is an ideal option for larger facilities looking to recycle their old lamps. The service allows the user to schedule a pickup online, or by phone (800.909.9709), and determines pricing based on the quantity and location of waste to be picked up. After waste is taken, it is delivered to one of Air Cycle’s certified recycling partners. Finally, a Certificate of Recycling is provided to the facility to show their waste was properly disposed. Bulk Pickup is quick, and easy for anyone. Instead of improperly throwing out your fluorescent bulbs in the shift to LED, recycle them!

For smaller quantities, our EasyPak Program is another simple recycling service that is provided in three easy steps. The user merely selects a container, fills it with waste, and returns it with the prepaid shipping label for recycling. Additionally, Air Cycle has created an online tracking system to verify that your lamp waste has been recycled properly. EasyPak can be used by any size facility, and is the attractive choice for your lamps when they are no longer for use.

Considering the high initial cost and installation of LED lighting, let Air Cycle remove the angst of recycling your old lamps. Air Cycle strives to make the fluorescent lamp disposal affordable and easy for facilities looking to pursue the switch. Contact us at our email, info@aircycle.com, or telephone number listed above, for more information and help to make the environment a better place.