Lamps4U, a company in Dubai, are offering to safely dispose of CFLs, which contain a small amount of mercury. While the lights are safe to use, if broken they can release the toxic metal into the environment.
Currently in Dubai, CFLs are being thrown away with regular waste as there are no proper facilities for disposing of the bulbs.
By the end of this year, the traditional filament lights will no longer be available to buy in the country. Among the efficient technologies that will be allowed instead are halogen bulbs, LEDs and CFLs.
Chief Executive Officer of Lamps4U, Mahesh Patel, has been working on solutions for large waste generators as well as for consumers. For establishments that use a lot of light bulbs, Lamps4U is offering machines that can crush the lights, extracting the mercury in them and separating the glass, plastics and metal waste. Two of these have already been bought. Boxes specially designed for the collection of old bulbs is hoped to be picked up by public places such as shopping malls. Aluminium bags have been designed for consumers to use to throw away their CFL bulbs. With the project still quite new it is hard to predict how many bulbs will be collected. Currently, Lamps4U is storing the old bulbs in a Dubai warehouse but soon it will begin reprocessing them in a machine with a capacity of up to eight million bulbs per shift per year.
Mashish Patel said about the project: "I started to think about supplier and manufacturer responsibility and I decided to give a cradle-to-cradle solution. I am not promoting it as a safe disposal program. This is proven technology, everything is available in Dubai today. The ultimate goal is that we collect all the [CFLs] so no mercury will escape into the environment."