Have A Light Bulb Moment With Broken Bulbs
Author: Rebecca Gredley
Cleaning Up Broken Fluorescent Globes
If you’ve ever found yourself standing in front of a broken compact fluorescent or fluorescent tube, worried about the mercury being released from it and how to best clean it up, then you're in the right place.
First of all, don't panic. Follow this step-by-step guide to help you have a lightbulb moment when dealing with broken fluorescent globes.
As soon as possible after the break, open all the doors and windows to let the room air out and get the following items ready - some paper or cardboard, disposable gloves, sticky tape or a damp cloth or slice of bread, a disposable brush and a glass jar with a lid.
- Air out the room
Ventilate the room for 15 minutes before cleaning up the broken globe, by opening windows and doors to let fresh air in. After the globe breaks, mercury vapours will be released, so this step is incredibly important for your health. If you have an air conditioner or a heater on, turn them off so that mercury vapours are not being recirculated in the room. Airing the room out properly before cleaning up ensures you don't breathe in any nasties.
- Scoop up the broken bits
Use a piece of stiff paper or cardboard (step away from the vacuum cleaner or broom for this step – these can spread the contents of the lamp!) – to scoop up broken material, preferably into a glass jar with a sealable lid.
- Glove yourself!
It’s not such a good idea to use bare hands, due to sharp bits of glass and the possibility of getting mercury on your skin. Wear disposable gloves to stay safe as you don't want to injure yourself in the process of cleaning up!
- Sweep it up
Sweep up the pieces of broken glass with a disposable brush as it's too dangerous to reuse a brush that may have mercury on it.
- Get the nitty gritty
There will usually be tiny bits of glass or powder on the ground once a globe has broken. The easiest way to clean these miniscule pieces are to use sticky tape, a damp cloth, or piece of bread to wipe up any of the glass fragments or powders that remain.
- Uh-oh, it’s happened on carpet…
If you’re cleaning up a fluorescent globe on carpet or fabric, carefully remove as much glass or powder using a scoop (stiff paper or cardboard) and sticky tape. If there’s no other option but to vacuum, ensure that you discard the vacuum bag or give the cannister a thorough wipe after you've finished.
- Clean up, seal up
Dispose of all your cleaning materials in your general rubbish bin, not the recycling bin.
- Quick, to the bin!
If you don’t have access to the items in this list, the most important thing to do is move everything (preferably in a sealed glass jar) to an outside bin as soon as possible.
These tips have been adapted from a guide from ZeroWaste SA
Recycling light globes and compact fluoros
For light globes and fluorescent bulbs that are still intact, the best method of disposale depends on the type of globe.
Fluorescent tubes, compact fluoros (CFLs), HIDs, and metal halides contain mercury so need to be recycled either through council, commercial or community programs. In South Australia they are actually banned from landfill! If you live in SA, NSW, VIC or TAS, there are specific programs for safe disposal and recycling.
Incandescent globes and halogens can be recycled through some of these programs or can simply be wrapped in paper and disposed of in the garbage bin. They are made from low value and non-toxic materials which make their recycling very difficult.
Visit http://recyclingnearyou.com.au/light-globes/ for more information for your local area.
For an easy way to recycle your spent tubes and globes that contain mercury, look into Ezy-Return Recycling Products. The Planet Ark office has a box for staff to fill up with their globes from home, ensuring the process is fuss-free. It's an easy way to collect and manage the end life of these every day products.
- New NT recycling education resources »
- 8 ways to green your 2018 »
- Wynyard Station's old Wooden Escalators Repurposed Into a Public Artwork »
- Office paper flung all over the country »
- Draft NSW Waste and Resource Recovery Infrastructure Strategy 2017-2021 »
- Celebrating more than 10 years being Carbon Neutral »
- Fight waste and get a bargain at the Big Aussie Swap »
- 5 ways to start your environmental sustainability journey today »
- 10 waste reducing tips from the Planet Ark staff »
- International House Sydney wins two major international design awards »
- Going plastic free: what does it take? »
- National Tree Day is this weekend! »
- Planet Ark pays tribute to former Head of Campaigns, Brad Gray »
- An Impressive 10 Million and Counting »
- Three Behaviour Change Tricks for Home or Work »
- Win An iPad Pro by Taking Our Survey »
- New Scrap Metal Legislation for NSW »
- Wood - Nature Inspired Design Report Launched on World Wood Day »
- 4 Ways to Make the Business Case for Less Waste »
- 14 Items You Can Recycle - But Probably Aren't (Part One) »
- Five Steps to Turn Back the Tide of Plastic »
- Fraser Coast Becomes the First Council in Queensland to adopt a Wood Encouragement Policy »
- Flings Save Tonnes of Paper »
- Get Crafty this Christmas »
- How to Reduce Spending and Your Eco-Footprint This Christmas »
- Soft Plastic - Scrunch and Recycle »
- Cleaning Up Confusion for National Recycling Week »
- Planet Ark Launches 100% Recycled Office Paper »
- Planet Ark Launches 100% Recycled Office Paper »
- Win a YEAR'S SUPPLY of Naturale Toilet Tissue »
- Giving Coffee Pods Another Life »
- It's Time For Another Fling »
- Post Back Your Post Packs »
- There's a Machine for That! »
- Donating Your Old Smartphone Could Change Someone's Life »
- Provide Feedback and Win One of Five Battery Chargers »
- East Gippsland Shire Council Adopts a Wood Encouragement Policy »
- The Rise of the Coffee Pod Machine »
- Help a Deafblind Person With Your Unwanted Smartphone »
- Grow a Green Thumb »
- How to Recycle Whitegoods »
- Recycle Right and Have a Cuppa »
- Community Garden Competition »
- Toowoomba is Buzzing About Free Rechargeable Battery Recycling »
- Waste and Resource Recovery Facilities Workshops »
- Adding Trees - A Prescription for Health, Happiness and Fulfilment »
- A Quick Recycling Guide To 3 Tricky Items »
- Working It Out At Officeworks »
- Battery Stewardship Solutions for Australia »
- Don't Miss Out On Funding Grants »
- The Importance of Green Public Spaces »
- Learn From The New Wave In Innovation »
- Who Made the Top Ten Cartridge Recyclers »
- Cash For Containers In NSW - It Pays To Recycle »
- Going Bananas About Waste »
- Reimagining Rubbish as a Resource »
- Coffee Go-Ground »
- Working Together To Reduce Food Waste »
- Fashionable Questions - Who Made Your Clothes and Where Do They End Up? »
- Reducing Waste and Costs for Business Happiness »
- Compacting Waste Costs By 50% »
- What's the Deal With Business Waste? »
- Four Eyes For Recycling »
- Give Dumpers A Lesson »
- A Tablet for Your Thoughts »
- Power Tool Battery recycling creates buzz in Brisbane »
- Change Accelerates 'Wood First' Policies »
- Get Your 2016 Environment Action Planner »
- How To Save On Waste Costs »
- Back at work? keep that vacation feeling with some 'Green' time... »
- 'Tis the Season to De-Clutter »
- Give someone a (indoor) tree this Christmas! »
- Drink Coffee? Take our Coffee Recycling Survey »
- Best Fling Ever »
- Recycle Right »
- Full Tummy Empty Bins »
- Recycle your old mobiles & help the Salvos »
- Trim Your Waste »
- Have an Appy Christmas »
- Re-Wrap It Up »
- Wood Encouragement - A Growing Trend »
- Celebrate Recycling at Work »
- 'Appy' Christmas gift from Planet Ark »
- Save the date! 'Waste Not, Want Not' Day is coming »
- $50,000 Rebate Open for NSW Businesses to Increase Recycling »
- What's In a Label? »
- Is it Gold For Australia? »
- Make Recycling at Work, Work »
- Let the Flings Begin »
- Recycling Role Models »
- Are You Making the No 1 Mistake? »
- Inspiring Performers »
- Answers to the Big Recycling Questions »
- Test Your Recycling Knowledge! »
- Getting Your Recycling Sorted »
- Advanced Waste and Resource Recovery Facilities Training Workshop »
- Help Save Safe Toilet Paper! »
- Planet Ark's new packaging tool a finalist in Banksia Sustainability Awards »
- New Label Makes Recycling Easy »
- Garage Sale Trailing Right Around Australia »
- An Office Fling Is Good For Circulation »
- Awake to the Fun of Recycling »
- Planet Ark Project - Answering Kid's Questions »
- Declutter Your Office E-waste for FREE »
- Power Tool Battery Recycling Pilot Launches in Brisbane »
- Reduce Your Pet's Paw Print »
- Bagging Waste »
- Tree Cheers For Australia! »
- Wise Words From An Eleven-Year-Old »
- E-Waste Busters »
- Identifying Asbestos »
- One House, Four Hours, Four Tonnes of Recycling »
- The art of upcycling »
- Happy Eco-Easter! »
- Creative Composting »
- Clean Clothes for Sensitive Souls »
- PREP For Better Recycling »
- The Real Tree Day Stars - Our Site Coordinators »
- Turning Trash Into Treasure »