Bulb Eater 3 Part of UNM Sustainability Program

University of New Mexico’s Recycling Problem

The University of New Mexico is a nationally recognized leader in higher education that prides themselves in their use of sustainable practices to ensure a positive impact on the environment.

As part of this commitment, UNM had looked for a safe and economical way to handle fluorescent lamp waste. Since these lamps contain mercury, proper management and disposal is regulated by the EPA, sending spent lamps to a local landfill was not an option.

Managing proper handling and disposal of intact lamps require a large amount of time and storage. Additionally, lamps are made of glass which presents potential breakage during handling and storage. As a large campus, UNM also faced challenges associated with generating lamps of all shapes and sizes along with unexpected costs due to the required recycling of spent fluorescent lamps.

“The UNM needs a safe and economical way to dispose of fluorescent lamps that requires less time, labor, storage space, and reduces cost for proper disposal.”

Scott George, University of New Mexico

Air Cycle’s Simple Sustainable Solution

unspecified-11A few different solutions exist for proper management and handling of lamp waste depending on the size of the college.  Facilities over 200,000 sq. ft. highly benefit from using a drum-top lamp crushing system such as the Bulb Eater® 3 (BE3).  The new design of the system incorporates significantly advanced safety features that provides safeguard for personnel and allows for any type of fluorescent lamps, including straight lamps, U-bends, and CFLs in the same machine.

This solution will save time because it is much more efficient than the time it takes to pack and store the spent lamps collected for proper disposal.  It also saves valuable storage space as the drums of crushed bulbs take up far less space than the cartons of lamps required for storing. What previously was stored on a 4’x4’x6’ pallet could now be contained in one 55 gallon drum. The machine also eliminates accidental breakage from storing boxes of lamps and prevents release of mercury vapor into the environment.


UNM was able to take ownership of the universal waste issues in regards to mercury-containing lamps as well as play a significant role in the process of responsible waste disposal through the use of Air Cycle’s BE3 lamp crushing machine.  Utilizing Air Cycle’s National network of recycling partners makes recycling the full drum of crushed lamps easy and cost effective.

“We would recommend that any facility that handles fluorescent bulbs consider the many advantages that the BE3 can provide including convenience, time and labor savings, and especially the environmental aspects of keeping mercury waste out of the local landfill. We save thousands of dollars per year using Air Cycle’s sustainable services and technology.”

Scott George


“What can UNM do to save time, space, and money on managing intact spent lamps produced at our campus?”


For the University of New Mexico, the answer was
simple.  The institution turned to Air Cycle Corporation to provide solutions to managing lamp waste.

Air Cycle Corporation is a proud leader in sustainable solutions and technologies, providing services to facilities of any size for managing all types of waste required to be recycled.

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