Recycling CFLs

People in and around Houston now have another location where they can dispose of burned out compact fluorescent light bulbs and fluorescent tubes. Houston Public Radio's Jim Bell explains.

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Before this week, only two of the city's three recycling centers accepted compact fluorescent bulbs and tubes along with other recyclables and household hazardous waste. This week, the Westpark Recycling Center has joined the other two centers in accepting CFLs. Solid Waste Department spokesman Gary Readore says they're not getting very many CFLs right now but that's going to change.

"They've only been out, say, a couple of years, and since the manufacturers say they should last three, four, or five, even maybe six years, we aren't seeing a big influx of them right now but we anticipate this is going to increase as the years go by."

Readore says CFLs are very different from old style incandescent bulbs, and they need to be disposed of properly.

"They do have a small amount of mercury vapor inside, and that's what makes the light efficient and last longer than the regular incandescent bulb. We're trying to make sure that citizens do the right thing in recycling these bulbs rather than throwing them in the trash, because if they break that mercury vapor can be released."

The Westpark Recycling Center is at 5900 Westpark just east of Fountainview. The other two centers are 11,500 South Post Oak, near South Main, and at 5614 Neches, near the Loop 610 and U.S. 59 on the north side. There's more information about the Solid Waste Department and its recycling efforts on our website KUHF dot org. Jim Bell, Houston Public Radio News.