New recycling program begins for fluorescent lights

OLYMPIA — Washington residents can now recycle fluorescent lights and other mercury-containing lights for free.

LightRecycle Washington collection sites accept traditional fluorescent tubes (including straight, curved and circular tubes), the twisty compact fluorescent lights and high intensity discharge lights, which are commonly used in outdoor lighting fixtures. The program does not accept lighting fixtures or ballasts.

Collection sites in Douglas County area are:

Rock Island Community Recycling Center, 23 S. Garden Ave., 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, 884-1261.

Town of Mansfield, 9 a.m. to noon second and fourth Wednesdays and second Saturdays, 683-1112.

City of Bridgeport, 1007 Fairview Ave., 9 to 11 a.m. first and third Thursdays and Saturdays, 232-3370.

Since 2010, it has been illegal in Washington to dispose of mercury-containing lights in the regular garbage. This new program, funded by a 25-cent environmental handling charge on each new mercury-containing light sold at retail, makes it simple to recycle old lights.

EcoLights Northwest, located in Seattle, is the recycling company that will process the lights collected by LightRecycle Washington. After mercury-containing lights are collected, EcoLights breaks them down and then recyclable components, including mercury, are refined and reused.

Both individuals and businesses can drop off lights for recycling, with a limit of 10 lights per day. For further information, visit www.lightrecyclewa.org.