What is PSI Doing on Fluorescent Lamps?

PSI continues to support state product stewardship legislation for fluorescent lamps,  following the conclusion of the three-year PSI National Dialogue on Fluorescent Lighting in 2009. PSI supports members in their pursuit of fluorescent lamp legislation by providing technical assistance, delivering letters of support (when requested), and facilitating the sharing of information among our government officials and other stakeholders. PSI provided technical support in the passage of the nation’s first lamp stewardship law in Maine in 2009, as well as subsequent laws passed in Washington and Vermont in 2010 and 2011, respectively. PSI continues to monitor legislative developments at the state and national levels to ensure that they align with the interests of PSI members. PSI collaborates with the Mercury Policy Project and other groups working on this issue.

National Fluorescent Lamps Dialogue

PSI developed an Action Plan and convened three multi-stakeholder dialogue meetings and several workgroups on product stewardship approaches to fluorescent lamps from 2007 - 2009.  The dialogue goal, as agreed at the first meeting, was to promote the use of energy efficient lighting while eliminating or reducing the amount of mercury and other toxins entering the environment during the lifecycle of fluorescent lamps. Specific goals included reducing the environmental impact of the manufacture of fluorescent lighting, increasing the manufacture and procurement of environmentally preferable lighting, and maximizing the safe collection and recycling of spent lamps from households and businesses through the development of a nationally-coordinated system that is financially sustainable. PSI conducted stakeholder interviews and drafted a Product Stewardship Action Plan for Fluorescent Lamps, which summarizes the large number of initiatives that are taking place to address this issue. The Action Plan also describes the problems, key issues, and potential solutions to manage fluorescent lamps. The Action Plan set the stage for the multi-stakeholder meetings and workgroups. As part of this process, PSI convened workgroups that considered options related to disposal bans, collection infrastructure, financing recycling programs, emerging lighting technologies, lamp breakage (including safety in shipment) and measuring recycling rates.

Stakeholder Meetings

PSI kicked off the dialogue in Salt Lake City in April 2008 with a meeting including state, local, and federal government; environmental organizations; manufacturers; retailers; and recyclers. Subsequent meetings, which included the same range of stakeholders, were held in Seattle, Washington in July 2008 and November 2008.

Projects and Initiatives

In 2007 - 2008, PSI and Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE) designed and implemented a retail collection pilot program for spent fluorescent lights and mercury thermostats at Ace hardware stores in Montana, South Dakota, and Utah. Collection of CFLs, fluorescent tubes, and mercury thermostats ran from May-December 2008. Based on this experience, PSI and WVE developed a how-to guide for retailers and others interested in collecting fluorescent lamps and mercury thermostats. This project was funded by U.S. EPA Region 8.

In 2008 – 2009, PSI and Washington Citizens for Resource Conservation (WCRC) expanded the Take It Back Network in Washington State to include Pierce and Thurston County retailers in the collection of fluorescent lamps. The Washington Department of Ecology funded this project.

Get Involved

Interesting in learning more about, or participating in, the fluorescent lamps management dialogue, or other initiatives? Contact Stefanie Wnuck at PSI, Stefanie@productstewardship.us, or (617) 671-0616 for more information.

Key Documents