Isn’t destroying fluorescent tubes an intimidating task? Does it require any additional skill? Or are you looking to find a solution about how to destroy fluorescent tubes with ease? No worries; we will help you with it! We have made a detailed note on the comprehensive methods to complete the task safely.
Besides this, fluorescent tubes consume less energy and are durable. But wait! Do you know it contains deadly toxins that you need to be careful of as they can hurt you badly? There’s a few ways to dispose them off easily. The efficiency of fluorescent tubes makes them worthy to use for better experience.
From disposing them off into a litter basket to throw them by hiring junk removal services, we have got everything covered in this article. Disposing of the fluorescent tubes without any knowledge can be harmful to the environment. What’s the catch, by the way? Let’s get started to know the details!
Fluorescent tubes contain trace amounts of heavy metal mercury, and mercury is a notorious neurotoxin. It forms invisible vapors and is highly volatile. You can inhale these vapors through breathing, and from there, they enter your lungs. In your lungs, mercury gets absorbed into your blood along with oxygen. Mercury primarily affects the central nervous system and the brain.
Exposure to mercury vapor can also cause adverse effects in unborn fetuses. Mercury affects their cognitive development and motor skills. Mercury poisoning in adults can even lead to severe cerebral palsy. It can also cause mental health diseases such as depression and anxiety.
Heavy metal poisoning is awfully dangerous, and its effects cannot be seen immediately and instead build up over time. Mercury in fluorescent tubes is not harmful as long as it stays in the tube and does not leak out. Hence you should be very careful about how you decide to destroy your fluorescent tubes.
Fluorescent tubes are considered to be Universal waste. Some states in the United States of America have passed definite laws for the proper disposal of universal waste. Countries like the United Kingdom and Australia also have varying degrees of strictness regarding removing fluorescent tubes. So not only are fluorescent tubes bad for the environment but you are also required by law to take proper precautions.
How to Destroy Fluorescent Tubes Safely
Appropriate precautions must be taken when you are getting rid of used or broken fluorescent tubes. Under no conditions should you simply throw them in the trash and forget about them. These tubes contain mercury, which is a very volatile metal. This mercury from a broken tube can damage your body in ways you cannot even fathom. Hence you need to follow the proper procedures to dispose of them.
- Searching for a waste disposal site near your home should be your first concern. There are a lot of forums that let you find all the recycling and waste disposal centers near your location. You can contact websites that will give you this information, for example Earth911 and CalRecycle. The only thing you are required to give is your zip code, and they will list all the waste disposal and recycling centers near you.
- Likewise, you can also contact local vendors who are interested in recycling fluorescent tubes. Chains like IKEA, Home Depot, and Lowe’s have this service available at several outlets.
- Lastly, you can purchase the appropriate equipment for safely destroying your fluorescent tubes for yourself at home. Sites like Terracycle Regulated Waste will give you several options for ‘bulb eaters’ for you to choose from. These devices break the glass containers of the fluorescent tubes and prevent the toxic gases from escaping. You only need to toss in the fluorescent tube, and you’re good to go.
Precautions to Take While Cleaning a Broken Fluorescent Tube
The mercury present in fluorescent tubes is very volatile and has adverse effects on health. The shattered glass of a broken pipe can also cause numerous injuries. You should follow the method listed below to minimize the health risk of a broken fluorescent tube.
- Open the windows and doors immediately to increase ventilation and avoid the accumulation of mercury vapors in the room. Leave the room immediately after this.
- Come back after a few hours, collect the broken glass shards with rubber gloves, and place them in a plastic bag. You can also use a piece of cardboard to collect the giant shards of glass instead of using your hands.
- Pick up the remaining tiny glass fragments with sticky tape and put them in the same plastic bag.
- In no case should you try to clean the mess with a standard vacuum cleaner. The harmful substances will accumulate in the vacuum bag and can come out the next time you use the vacuum.
- Throw away all the materials you used to clean the broken fluorescent tube because all of those products are now contaminated by mercury and phosphorus.
If you follow all these precautions, you can save yourself and the people around you from the harmful components of broken fluorescent tubes.
How to Store Fluorescent Tubes in the House
It is impractical and time-consuming to go back to a disposal site every time you need to throw away a fluorescent tube. Some facilities have a minimum weight limit, and they do not accept any packages that weigh less than that. So, the secret to solving all these problems is to store the fluorescent tubes in a safe place until you have enough to make your trip to the disposal site worthwhile.
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There are several ways to safely store fluorescent tubes in your house without them posing an active threat.
- Firstly, you can simply stash them in the same boxes that you purchased them in. These boxes are the perfect size to hold the fluorescent tubes and are space-efficient.
- Secondly, you can wrap the fluorescent tubes in old newspapers. This will prevent them from breaking, but you still need to be careful with them.
- Thirdly, you can cover them with tape and store them in your garage. You need to make sure that there are no holes in the wrapping because if the tube breaks, all the toxic gases will leak out, and the covering will be useless.
- Some companies offer prepaid packages mailed to your house containing specialized containers to store waste products. When the container is filled to capacity, you simply send it back to the company. They take care of the toxic fluorescent tubes without you having to do anything.
- Be careful to store fluorescent tubes out of reach of children. They could possibly break them and cause themselves harm unknowingly.
Following are some questions people often ask regarding fluorescent tubes.
Is it safe to install fluorescent lights in children’s rooms?
It is not recommended to install fluorescent lights in children’s rooms as any mishap can cause the light to break. This will release toxic gases which are harmful to children and even adults.
How much does it cost to dispose of compact fluorescent lights at a waste disposal site?
The average fee for the disposal of compact fluorescent lamps in America is around 0.5- 2.00 dollars. This rate can vary depending on which state or country you live in.
What will happen to your body if you inhale mercury vapors?
Your body will absorb the mercury. This can cause kidney and liver damage. It is also very toxic for the brain and central nervous system.
Have you ever wondered how to destroy fluorescent tubes? Overall, these are the most effective ways and techniques to destroy these tubes. You have to be careful and should follow the entire precautions for better experience.
This article covers all the essential details and will let you how incorrect destroying will lead to a disaster. All these problems and solution will provide you better understanding of the actions you take. In addition to this, it will make the environment enhanced and get the maximum advantage of using fluorescent tubes. We have also mentioned the entire possibilities that might result while destroying these tubes. You need no professional help as this guide will save your time and money.