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.

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.

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.

Simplify Your Recycling Plan with EasyPak Recycling

Being environmentally conscious is something that, due to research and scientific evidence, is becoming more and more important to businesses and individuals across the world. However, many businesses still say that recycling spent lamps, batteries, and electronics can be a hassle. In America, 70% of toxic waste is electronic and spent lamp waste, so it’s of utmost importance to consider how you can minimize your footprint from day to day!

At AirCycle, we can make this process a breeze with our EasyPak recycling program. EasyPak recycling involves shipping your used bulbs, batteries, ballast, thermostat, and electronic waste to us and we take of the rest. It’s easy-to-use, no hassle, and available for sign up online. The steps are simple: Continue reading “Simplify Your Recycling Plan with EasyPak Recycling”

3 Fool-Proof Ways to De-Clutter Your Facility Today

Did you miss your spring-cleaning goal this year? Don’t fret; there are still easy ways to de-clutter your workspace just in time for summer. One of the biggest complaints we hear in the business community is that while organizing is easy, when it comes to electronic and bulb waste management and recycling, many don’t know where to begin and seems to quickly snowball. As waste begins to pile up, frustration can increase dramatically, making the idea of recycling a longshot goal. At AirCycle, we have a variety of products that can make your bulk waste management easy.

Continue reading “3 Fool-Proof Ways to De-Clutter Your Facility Today”

Traveling Green this Holiday Season with Air Cycle

Tis the season to travel. The hospitality industry is working in full force to prepare for the holidays, as an influx of people travel to visit family or take one last vacation before the end of the year. How will holiday travelers choose where they lay down their heads? While price and availability will take precedent in this busy season, you may be surprised to know that more travelers are considering sustainability in their decision. Continue reading “Traveling Green this Holiday Season with Air Cycle”

This Election Season, Vote GREEN with Air Cycle

Unlike choosing a future President of the United States, finding a recycling solution for your organization includes many viable options. All of your universal waste, from linear fluorescent lamps to old electronics, can be safely and efficiently recycled with Air Cycle’s simple, sustainable solutions. So, how will you choose? Continue reading “This Election Season, Vote GREEN with Air Cycle”

Watch the Video – Total Program Management from Air Cycle

watch-tpm-videoAre you looking for a national recycling program for your business? Consider this the starting point for a recycling program that works. For nearly 20 years, Air Cycle has worked with organizations of all sizes, coast to coast. We’ve refined a special program for multi-location organizations called Total Program Management, or TPM. Continue reading “Watch the Video – Total Program Management from Air Cycle”

Develop Your Corporate Recycling Program in 7 Easy Steps

For corporations with multiple locations, creating a corporate recycling program that can track and manage successful sustainability can be a challenge. With Total Program Management, we’ve made it easy to create, manage, and track your corporate-wide recycling program from a centralized location. Need reports by location? State? Region? Corporate? No problem! Continue reading “Develop Your Corporate Recycling Program in 7 Easy Steps”

Simple Solutions to Complex Recycling Regulations

Tackling the complex problem of universal waste recycling for large organizations can be a daunting task, even with staff specifically trained to deal with such issues. Service organizations such as hotels, colleges, and hospitals don’t generate hazardous materials as a normal course and all too often, these businesses may not be aware of state, local, and federal environmental regulations as traditional manufacturers.

Common workplace waste, such as spent batteries, fluorescent bulbs, ballasts and electronics are regulated in each state and are generated in such volumes that they cannot be landfilled legally. One fine can easily erode the savings incurred through illegally landfilling regulated waste. Continue reading “Simple Solutions to Complex Recycling Regulations”