|FLUORESCENT LIGHT TUBE RECYCLING|
Fluorescent light tubes are used to provide illumination in numerous facilities on the University of Michigan (U-M) campus. Mercury is an essential component in the manufacturing of fluorescent light tubes. Mercury is considered hazardous by the Environmental Protection Agency due to its ability to bioaccumulate within the environment; recycling fluorescent light tubes mitigates the potential for mercury to enter the environment. U-M is currently recycling approximately 120,000 fluorescent light tubes annually from 22 million square feet of facilities throughout its campuses.
49 CFR Parts 260-268.
State of Michigan Act 451 Part 111
Overview of Procedure
Currently, several types of fluorescent light tubes are being used including: straight two, four, five, and eight-foot tubes, "U" shaped tubes, compact fluorescent tubes, and T-8 tubes which are smaller in diameter and more energy efficient than traditional fluorescent light tubes of similar length. Efforts are underway to systematically replace traditional fluorescent light tubes with more energy efficient units.
All spent fluorescent light tubes replaced during preventative maintenance and renovation activities are sent to a recycling contractor for processing.
Waste Minimization Procedure
The boxes are picked up and transported to the tube recycling facility by the recycling vendor under contract. Upon arrival, the tubes are loaded onto a conveyer belt and crushed under negative pressure. The mercury-containing calcium phosphate powder is separated into a storage container, and the glass and aluminum end caps are segregated. The powder is then subjected to a process called "retorting" where the mercury is heated, vaporized, and distilled for recovery. The recovered mercury, aluminum end caps, and glass are marketed to manufacturers and utilized in a variety of products. Air emission monitoring of the tube crusher and analytical testing on the glass and aluminum end caps, are conducted at the recycling facility to ensure that the mercury-containing powder is being controlled according to state and federal regulations.
Safety & Health Precautions/Personal Protective Equipment
Project Related Costs