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On ... off ... now what?

Editors note: In the continuing series on recycling in Bureau County, today’s article looks at what can be done with old light bulbs, lamps and other related light fixture items.

PRINCETON — Recycling old light bulbs and tubes is easier said than done.

On Monday, Princeton’s Superintendent of Streets Steve Wright said the city of Princeton does not accept any light bulbs at the city recycling plant because of the gases contained inside the bulbs. Fluorescent bulbs can be recycled, just not through the city’s recycling center, Wright said.

More information on the options for recycling light bulbs is available through the Earth911 website, Wright said.

According to the Earth911 website, compact fluorescent light bulbs can be taken locally to the Home Depot and the Debo Ace Hardware stores, both located in Peru. Home Depot accepts unbroken compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) for residential drop-off but not fluorescent tubes. The Debo Ace Hardware accepts unbroken CFLs for business and residential drop-off.

In Princeton, Crescent Electric, located at 555 Elm Place, is one area business which also helps residents and businesses in the recycling of lamps and electrical ballasts.

Crescent Electric sells different size boxes, marked with prepaid postage, in which lamps or electrical ballasts can be placed for handling and recycling. On each box is a phone number to be called, and that business will come and pick up the box. More information on the boxes is available through Crescent Electric.

According to the Earth911 website, there are several steps which people can take to make their light bulbs and lamps last longer, thus reducing the number of light bulbs and lamps to be recycled. Those tips include the following:

• Make lamps and light bulbs last long by turning incandescent lamps on and off when leaving and entering a room to save energy and money.

• The installation of dimmers can extend light bulb and lamp life and reduce energy consumption.

• Become educated on recycling legislation in your community and state.

• Don’t limit yourself to incandescent or compact fluorescent lights. The LED (light-emitting diode) is more expensive but can last 10 times longer. Consider installing LEDs, especially in hard-to-reach places or in places where changes are needed often. LEDs contain no mercury and can pay for themselves in energy savings over their lifetime, according to Earth911.

• If old lamps are not broken, don’t trash them. Donate them or put them in storage as a back-up.

• When considering recycling, be sure to carefully package lights/lamps to make sure they don’t break in transport, which would release toxins such as mercury.

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