What are fluorescent tubes?
Fluorescent tubes are a form of hazardous waste and are used to convert fluorescence into visible light. They are sometimes referred to as fluorescent bulbs or fluorescent lights. They are produced in large volumes across the UK, within many different industries, namely in relation to construction and manufacturing. Due to their hazardous nature, business owners should ensure that they are disposing of fluorescent tubes in the correct manner. Thankfully, this guide will teach you how to dispose of fluorescent tubes UK.
What are fluorescent tubes made from?
The body of the fluorescent tube is typically made from glass. They also contain some form of metal, such as aluminium. However, the ‘fluorescence’ itself is derived from mercury or mercury vapours, which can be incredibly toxic if not handled correctly. While their mercury content used to be much higher, the average fluorescent bulb now contains around 3.5mg of mercury. As such, users must be aware of the proper fluorescent tube disposal practices when it’s time to switch their bulbs.
Who uses fluorescent tubes?
As mentioned previously, fluorescent tubes are used in a wide variety of industries. In fact, you probably even have a few of these bulbs lying around your home. However, they are produced in large volumes by:
What is the legislation regarding the disposal of fluorescent tubes?
Due to the fact that they are hazardous in nature, there are various laws and legislations that govern fluorescent tube disposal UK. This includes The Hazardous Waste (England and Wales)Regulations 2005. These disposal of fluorescent tubes regulations dictate that business owners must:
Classify their waste.
Ensure that hazardous materials are stored in the appropriate bins and containers before collection.
Arrange for the waste to be collected by a licensed carrier.
Put together a waste transfer note.
How are fluorescent tubes disposed of?
While previously, fluorescent bulbs were predominantly disposed of in landfill sites, it is possible to recycle fluorescent tubes. The fluorescent tube recycling process is not dissimilar to the way in which traditional light bulbs are recycled. To begin with, the tubes are broken and washed to remove any harmful contaminants. From this, they are fed into a special machine that extracts hazardous materials, such as mercury. The leftover materials (glass and metal) can then be recycled.
What Bins and Containers should be used to store fluorescent tubes?
Fluorescent tubes should never be disposed of alongside the rest of your waste – even though they are widely recyclable. If shattered, the fluorescent bulbs could cause mercury gasses and vapours to escape into the surrounding atmosphere. As these gasses are odourless, it can be hard to identify when a leak has occurred – which presents a severe health and safety issue for your employees, customers and the general public. This issue is of such profound importance that it is stated in the WEEE legislation.
When storing your fluorescent tubes prior to disposal, you should ensure that they are stored neatly and carefully in appropriate containers. Using the right containers makes recycling fluorescent tubes easier for everyone! Thankfully, at BusinessWaste, we can provide you with access to a range of free bins and containers specifically designed to store fluorescent bulbs. Our fluorescent bulb bins are highly durable and weatherproof, making them the perfect storage solution for hazardous materials.
What’s the difference between a light bulb and a fluorescent tube?
While they serve the same purpose, the most significant difference between light bulbs and fluorescent tubes is the fact that fluorescent tubes are much more energy efficient. This is because they produce significantly less heat than a regular bulb. They also produce light in different ways. For example, in a traditional lightbulb, a metallic filament is slowly heated until it produces light, whereas the light in a fluorescent bulb is derived from gasses.
How to dispose of Light Bulbs in the UK?
The vast majority of lightbulbs, whether they are used within your business or at home, can be recycled. However, they must also be stored securely before disposal, meaning you should take extra care when handling them. Thankfully, light bulb disposal is relatively straightforward, as you can drop light bulbs off at your local recycling facility or arrange for them to be collected and safely disposed of alongside the rest of your commercial waste they do need to be stored correctly in the right container. After collection, they will likely be taken to a specialist light bulb recycling facility.
What are some fact about fluorescent tubes
Fluorescent lamps are decreasing in popularity, likely because more eco-friendly alternatives, such as LED bulbs, are now readily available. LED light bulbs now make up 2/3 of all bulbs sold in the UK.
As part of an eco-friendly directive, the UK will place a ban on fluorescent lighting in September 2023.
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