TORONTO, Feb. 14 /CNW/ - Take back the Light (TBTL), the first mercury
containing lamp stewardship program in Canada designed for the IC&I
(Industrial, Commercial & Institutional) sector, has exceeded its first
milestone—the capture and safe recycling of more than 2 million lamps—a
full 6 months ahead of schedule.
Take Back the Light launched in June 2008 with the original expectation
that the program would recover and recycle 1 million lamps by 2011.
Recycling Council of Ontario, who conceived, developed and operates the
program is "rejoicing at the accelerated pace of participation and
acceptance that the program has generated leading into its second full
year of operation. Two million lamps represents more than 60 kg (130
lbs) of mercury captured and diverted from disposal", says Jo-Anne St.
Godard, the RCO's executive director.
Fluorescent lamps contain MERCURY, a hazardous neurotoxin. Disposal of
lamps in a landfill results in mercury leaching into the soil, and the
water table that feeds our lakes and streams—moving up the food chain
as methyl mercury from aquatic flora to fish, wildlife and eventually
humans. Methyl mercury is particularly dangerous for the developing
nervous systems of young children or fetuses. Inhalation of elemental
mercury vapour, in high concentrations, can be hazardous to the human
respiratory system and potentially lethal.
Take Back the Light was developed as a response to Government's decision
to phase out incandescent lamps to mandate the use of more energy
efficient lighting. RCO recognized that this meant potentially more
mercury-containing lamps in the garbage and in the environment.
"We worked intensively for 2 years to introduce a market-based,
environmentally safe program for recycling the component parts from
fluorescent lamps and the results have substantiated our belief that
responsible purchasing and end-of-life management is key to
environmental protection", asserts St. Godard.
The Ontario Ministry of the Environment funded both the pilot study and
the program development of Take Back the Light. The Government of
Ontario, through both the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Ontario
Realty Corporation, has committed to full participation in TBTL by all
of its departments and building facilities. This provincial commitment
holds the potential to divert tens of thousands of lamps annually,
thereby setting an exemplary standard for other governmental
Take Back the Light is predicated on the principles of green procurement
and is designed to function advantageously for the lamp manufacturer,
distributor and end user.
"The Take Back the Light program makes Ontario a leader in lamp
recycling and keeps hazardous waste out of landfills," said Minister
John Wilkinson. "The Ontario Ministry of the Environment is proud to
have supported the development of this innovative program that
encourages consumers, suppliers and manufacturers to work together to
help reduce waste."
Factoid: One-tenth of a microgram of methyl mercury would be enough to
contaminate a serving of fish for a 20 kg child. What is one-tenth of a
microgram - imagine cutting a paper clip into 1 million pieces, one of
these pieces would be one-tenth of a microgram.
Source: Mercury Primer, Pollution Probe
About the Recycling Council of Ontario
The Recycling Council of Ontario is a charitable organization and member
based not-for-profit. It is also the only multi-stakeholder
environmental group in Ontario solely dedicated to the 3R's Principles
(Reduce, Reuse, Recycle). The RCO's mission and mandate is to reduce
society's impact on the environment by informing and educating all
members of society about the generation of waste, the avoidance of
waste and the more efficient use of resources.
SOURCE Recycling Council of Ontario
For further information:
Jo-Anne St. Godard, RCO Executive Director