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Fact Sheets

How to Manage

Used Fluorescent and
High-Intensity-Discharge Lamps
as Universal Wastes

View Brochure: Facts on Compact Fluorescent Lamps & Proper Disposal

This fact sheet is for general information only. It is not intended to replace, interpret or modify the regulations for managing hazardous fluorescent and high-intensity-discharge (HID) lamp wastes in Illinois.

Why is proper disposal of used fluorescent lamps important?

Improper disposal of used fluorescent and high density discharge lamps damages the environment. Fluorescent lamps illuminate countless businesses, stores, schools and homes. HID lamps (mercury-vapor, metal-halide and high-pressure sodium) are used for street lights, floodlights and industrial lighting. Unfortunately, most of these lamps have been improperly collected as municipal waste and dumped in ordinary sanitary landfills. When broken, these lamps release mercury and other metals that damage the environment.

Used fluorescent and HID lamps may be classified as hazardous waste due to their mercury content and are thus regulated under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). These regulations provide for management of hazardous wastes. In Illinois, the newly amended Universal Waste Rule encourages recycling or proper disposal of waste lamps. The Illinois Pollution Control Board amended the Illinois Universal Waste Rule (on April 2, 1998) to cover lamps that meet the definition of hazardous waste. Wastes in this special category of hazardous waste are called "universal" because they are broadly generated. Pesticides, thermostats and batteries also can be classified as universal wastes.

The Illinois Universal Waste Rule encourages hazardous waste lamps to be properly collected, and subsequently recycled or disposed of.

What are my options for managing hazardous lamps?

In Illinois, you may follow the Universal Waste Rule described in this fact sheet (and in state regulations) or you may follow RCRA requirements for hazardous-waste handling, storage, treatment and disposal. You must choose one of these options.

How can I be sure my waste lamps are hazardous?

In order to manage these lamps properly, you may:

  • accept the lamp maker's written claim the lamps are not hazardous;
  • assume they are hazardous;
  • have them tested.

How does the Illinois Universal Waste Rule help me?

Managing waste lamps under the streamlined requirements of the Illinois Universal Waste Rule:

  • Eliminates permits for universal waste handlers and transporters;
  • Eliminates manifests (except when lamps are transported through or are treated or disposed in states not recognizing waste lamps as universal waste);
  • Eliminates their contribution to your total volume of hazardous waste;
  • Increases the time you may store waste lamps;
  • Reduces record keeping, training and emergency preparedness requirements.

What conditions make me a universal waste handler?

If you generate universal waste or receive it for consolidation, you are a universal waste handler. If you treat, dispose, recycle or transport such wastes, you are not a universal waste handler.

Handlers who transport waste lamps are subject to all regulations affecting transporters. (Transport means moving wastes off-site.)

How do I tell if I'm a small- or a large-quantity handler?

Accumulating less than 11,000 pounds of universal waste at a time makes you a small-quantity handler; more than 11,000 pounds makes you a large-quantity handler. (It takes about 17,000 48-inch lamps to equal 11,000 pounds.)

What obligations apply to handlers and transporters?

Handlers and transporters are prohibited from disposing, treating, recycling or diluting waste lamps. Instead they must:

  • Send lamps to a facility that accepts universal-waste lamps for recycling, treatment or disposal; a list of recyclers is available from the Illinois EPA.
  • Minimize breakage and immediately clean up broken or damaged lamps;
  • Prevent release of lamp fragments and residues. (The Illinois EPA recommends storing broken lamps in nonmetallic packaging because mercury tends to accumulate on other metals.)

How should waste lamps be labeled?

Individual waste lamps or containers must clearly state one of the following:

  • "Universal Waste Lamps"
  • "Waste Lamps"
  • "Used Lamps"

How long can handlers accumulate universal wastes?

For up to one year (or longer if they can demonstrate more time is needed to collect quantities necessary for proper recovery, treatment or disposal). Handlers must record on each lamp or lamp container the date lamps became waste.

How should we train workers who handle waste lamps?

In-house training differs between small- and large-quantity handlers:

  • Small-quantity handlers shall inform all employees who handle or manage universal waste of proper handling and emergency procedures;
  • Large-quantity handlers shall ensure all employees are thoroughly familiar with these procedures.

What shipping papers and records are required?

Large-quantity handlers must record each shipment of universal waste in a log, invoice, manifest, bill of lading or other shipping document, and include:

  • name and address of receiving facility;
  • quantity and type of each waste;
  • shipping date.

Records must be kept for at least three years from date of shipment. Small-quantity handlers are not required to keep records.

May I crush my lamps?

Universal waste handlers and transporters may crush waste lamps only to reduce their volume, and only at the site where waste lamps are generated, provided:

  • Crushing occurs in a closed system designed and operated to prevent mercury emissions from exceeding 0.1 milligrams per cubic meter, measured on a time-weighted average over an eight-hour period, as rated by the crusher's manufacturer;
  • The Illinois EPA is notified of crushing activities quarterly, using the Agency's Notification of Universal Lamp Crushing Activity Form;
  • Crushing occurs in a well-ventilated and -monitored area, to ensure compliance with applicable OSHA exposure limits;
  • Employees crushing lamps are thoroughly familiar with emergency procedures and proper handling of mercury waste;
  • Crushed lamps are stored in closed, nonleaking containers;
  • Spilled or leaked materials are transferred immediately to closed containers.

Crushing may pose health and environmental risks if mercury vapors are released. Also, lamp recyclers may prefer whole lamps to crushed ones.

How long may transporters store universal waste?

Transporters may store universal waste at a universal-waste transfer facility for no more than 10 days without becoming a universal waste handler subject to additional requirements. Transporters may take universal waste to only a universal waste handler, a universal-waste transfer facility or a universal-waste destination facility.

Do handlers and transporters need permits?

Universal waste handlers or transporters need not obtain hazardous waste management permits, but must manage these wastes in compliance with state regulations.

How should home-owners manage waste lamps?

Mercury-containing lamps discarded by households are not subject to hazardous waste rules and can be accepted by municipal-waste landfills; however, the Illinois EPA recommends you take these lamps to household-hazardous-waste collection centers. (Call your county recycling coordinator to find the center nearest you.)

What if I have questions not covered by this fact sheet?

For further information regarding the management of universal wastes and other hazardous wastes in Illinois, there are several additional resources available: 

Federal Fact Sheet: Some Used Lamps are Universal Wastes

Federal Final Rule on Hazardous Waste Lamps

Illinois Universal Waste Management Regulations

If you still have questions, please call the Illinois EPA's Bureau of Land Permit Section, at 217-524-3300.

Where can I locate a fluorescent lamp recycler near me?

For information purposes only; inclusion does not constitute endorsement; omission does not constitute disapproval. Compliance status should be verified with the environmental agency of the state where the facility is located.

Illinois Waste(s) Accepted
Air Cycle Corp.
2000 S. 25th Avenue,  Suite C
Broadview,  IL 60155
Tel: 800-909-9709
Fax: 708-344-7875
All kinds of lamps, batteries, ballasts, and electronic equipment
Everlights Lamp and Ballast Recycling
9901 S. Torrence Avenue
Chicago, IL  60617
Tel: 773-734-9873
Fax: 773-723-9874
Fluorescent lamps, ballasts, batteries, computers, hazardous and special waste, electrical supplies
Fluorecycle, Inc.
27780 W. Concrete Dr., Unit A
Ingleside, IL 60041
Tel: 815-363-4411 
Fax 815-363-4422
All mercury-containing lamps
Springfield Electric
902 Four Seasons Road
Bloomington, IL  61701
Fluorescent lamps
Springfield Electric
215 Industrial Park Road
Carbondale, IL  62901
Fluorescent lamps
Springfield Electric
901 North Mattis
Champaign, IL  61821
Fluorescent lamps
Springfield Electric
104 North Jackson Street
Danville, IL  61832
Fluorescent lamps
Springfield Electric
3575 North Woodford
Decatur, IL  62565
Fluorescent lamps
Springfield Electric
225 W. Washington Street
East Peoria, IL  61611
Fluorescent lamps
Springfield Electric
1500 Old State Road
Mattoon, IL  61938
Fluorescent lamps
Springfield Electric
2601 5th Avenue
Moline, IL  61265
Fluorescent lamps
Springfield Electric
2841 May Road
Peru, IL  61354
Fluorescent lamps
Springfield Electric
225 South 10th Avenue
Quincy, IL  62301
Fluorescent lamps
Springfield Electric
737 North Madison Street
Rockford, IL  61107
Fluorescent lamps
Springfield Electric
700 North 9th Street
Springfield, IL  62702
Fluorescent lamps
Indiana Waste(s) Accepted
Heritage Environmental Services
7901 W. Morris St.
Indianapolis, IN. 46231
Tel: 317-243-0811 or 877-436-8778
Fax: 317-486-5085
Lamps, batteries, ballasts, electronics
Lighting Resources Inc.
498 Park 800 Drive
Greenwood, IN  46143
Tel: 317-888-3889 
Fax: 317-888-3890
Fluorescent lamps and ballasts
Retrofit Recycling, Inc.
2156 South Lynhurst Drive
Indianapolis, IN  46241
Tel: 317-381-0628 or 866-97-RETRO
Fax: 317-381-0638
Fluorescent and HID lamps, ballasts, batteries, PCB material, electronics, mercury devices
Iowa Waste(s) Accepted
Springfield Electric
5550 Carey Avenue
Davenport, IA  52807
Fluorescent lamps
A-Tec Recycling Inc.
Box 7391
Des Moines, IA 50309
Tel: 800-551-4912 
Fax: 515-263-6970
Fluorescent and HID lamps, ballasts, capacitors, mercury devices, batteries, computers
Springfield Electric
1301 Johnson Street
Keokuk, IA  52632
Fluorescent Lamps
Michigan Waste(s) Accepted
Cleanlites Recycling Inc.
Box 212, 665 Hull Road
Mason, MI  48854
Fax: 517-676-4449
Lamps, batteries, and ballasts
Minnesota Waste(s) Accepted
Mercury Technologies of Minn. Inc.
Pine City Industrial Park, Box 13
Pine City, MN 55063-0013
Tel: 800-864-3821 or 320-629-7888
Fax: 320-629-7799
Fluorescent lamps
Mercury Waste Solutions Inc.
2007 W. County Road C-2
Roseville, MN  55113-1211
Tel: 651-628-9370 or 877-636-6514
Fax: 651-628-9371
Lamps, mercury devices
Retrofit Recycling, Inc.
2960 Yorkton Blvd.
Little Canada, MN  55117
Tel:  651-766-7422 or 800-274-1309
Fax:  651-766-9900
Fluorescent and HID lamps, ballasts, batteries, PCB material, electronics, mercury devices
Missouri Waste(s) Accepted
P.O. Box 185
Lake Ozark, MO 65049
Tel: 888-537-4874 or 573-302-7575
Fax: 573-302-7579
Lamps, ballasts, batteries, computers
Springfield Electric
1303 New London Gravel
Hannibal, MO 63401
Fluorescent Lamps
Ohio Waste(s) Accepted
Environmental Recycling
PO Box 167
527 East Woodland Circle
Bowling Green, OH  43402
Tel: 800-284-9107 
Fax: 419-354-5110
Lamps, batteries, mercury devices
USA Lamp and Ballast Recycling
7806 Anthony Wayne Ave.
Cincinnati, OH 45216
Tel: 513-641-4155 or 800-778-6645
Fax:  513-641-4156
Lamps, batteries, ballasts, CRTs
Wisconsin Waste(s) Accepted
Budget Lamp Reclaimers
3224 Kingsley Way
Madison, WI 53713
Tel: 608-275-6766 or 800-311-963
Fax:  608-275-6765
Lamps, ballasts, batteries
Environmental Solutions
W7485 County Road U
Plymouth, WI 53073
Tel:  800-779-3050
Fax:  920-528-0035
Lamps, refrigeration devices, batteries
Lamp Recyclers Inc.
3055 Holmgren Way
Green Bay, WI 54304
Tel: (920) 592-1161or 800-558-1166
Lamps, ballasts, batteries, computer stuff
Mercury Waste Solutions Inc.
21211 Durand Ave.
Union Grove, WI  53182-9711
Tel: 262-878-2599 or 800-741-3343
Fax: 262-878-2699
Lamps, mercury devices
Recycle Technologies Inc.
1480 N. Springdale Road
Waukesha, WI  53186
Tel: 262-798-3040 or 800-305-3040
Fax: 262-798-3053
Lamps, electronics, ballasts, batteries, mercury-containing things, non-hazardous industrial waste
Veolia Environmental Services
1275 Mineral Springs Drive
Port Washington, WI 53074
Tel:  262 268-9168 
Fax 608 356-9669
Mercury containing items, ballasts, batteries, electronics
Wisconsin Ballast Inc.
W193S6817 Hillendale Drive
Muskego, WI  53150
Tel: 262-679-2080 or 800-345-4437
Fax: 262-679-4748
Ballasts and lamps

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