Trying to understand how light bulbs are recycled takes a little more research on my part. I honestly have never known how recycling centers go about recycling light bulbs. Due to the many different materials that make up light bulbs, I could only guess that the process was tedious. So here is an overall step by step process of the recycling process:
- Lamps are sent to the recycling facility
- Upon arrival at the recycling facility, lamps are removed from their containers and fed into specialized machine for recycling lamps. The entire process is fully automatic and incorporated in a container in which the air is brought to subpressure, thereby preventing mercury from being released into the environment.
- By-product separation
- With the aid of a sophisticated patented air transportation system, the phosphor powder is separated in different steps from the glass and metal by-products.
- Glass and aluminum stored
- Clean glass and aluminum end-caps are separated and stored for re-use.
- Mercury is isolated
- The mercury bearing powder is collected in distiller barrels beneath the cyclone and the self-cleansing dust filters
- Mercury is extracted
- The powder is then retorted to drive out the mercury.
- Elements are ready for re-use
- At the end of the process the glass, metal end-caps, powder, and mercury can all be re-used.
- Recycling certificate is issued
- Once the materials have been fully processed by the recycling facility, an official Certificate of Recycling will be produced and emailed to you for record keeping.
This is an overall general process of light bulb recycling. As much as you can- please, please recycle these products carefully and appropriately. There are a lot of different materials that go into the production process of producing lamps that can harm the environment and the toxic materials will always come full circle back to us.