CFLs contain a small amount of mercury (approx. 4 mg per light-bulb), which allows the bulb to be an efficient light source. In the past few years, advances in technology have reduced the average mercury content to 1.4-2.5 mg per bulb. Small as it is, the mercury content from one fluorescent bulb can pollute 6,000 gallons of water beyond safe levels for drinking. However, CFLs pose no risk when used properly; no mercury is released when the bulbs are intact. During installation and replacement, always handle light-bulbs with care. Used CFLs should be properly disposed of through recycling.
Through collaboration with the District of Squamish and Rona, Squamish CAN now offers a used CFL collection point downtown. You can now bring your used CFLs to the Municipal Hall and place them in the container provided in the lobby. Squamish CAN volunteers will take them to Rona, who will send them to Aevitas Inc (www.aevitas.ca), Rona’s recycling partner in Ontario. During the recycling process, the light-bulb components are separated; the glass is used by others in the manufacture of fiberglass; the end caps are used by smelters; the mercury containing phosphor powder is sent for removal of mercury through a distillation process and the mercury is then re-used.