Recycling low-energy bulbs

Oh dear! I seem to have set a hare running with this one!

A couple of days ago news broke on twitter that a pink recycling bank (pink bin) specifically for small electrical items had appeared in Headington car park behind Waitrose. @HeadingtonNews posted a picture and I commented that nothing on the bin indicated that the new low-energy light bulbs (or ‘lamps’ as the trade insists on calling them) should be recycled too. The commonest type of new bulb in domestic use is called  a CFL, or compact fluorescent lamp: they’re the ones with thin tubes coiled up and which take a moment to light up when you switch them on. The problem is they contain (toxic) mercury. The amount in a single bulb (lamp) is tiny, but the regulations say they must be recycled and not sent to landfill. I suggested they should be put into the pink bin too.

But this is WRONG! Various people and organisations joined in the twitter conversation, some offering advice that was less than clear. Indefatigable local councillor @RuthWilk took up the case and after some digging it has emerged that for reasons which are still unexplained CFLs should NOT be put in the pink bin.

Although there’s nowhere in Headington where you can recycle these bulbs there are three places not too far away where you can take them for safe – and free – disposal. Homebase on the Horspath Driftway industrial estate is the nearest, The other two are Robert Dyas in the City Centre (off New Inn Hall Street in the street leading into the Clarendon shopping mall) and Sainsbury’s at Heyford Hill. These and other places can be tracked down using the postcode search on the website of an organisation called Recolight (“Making lamp recycling happen”)

So I hope that’s cleared that up! DON’T put your dead or broken energy-saving bulbs in the pink bin. DON’T put them in any of your various colours of domestic waste bins. DO take them to one of the three places above, or somewhere else with a scheme for their proper disposal.