Take Back the Light Launches in Ontario

    Ontario Government Supports Recycling Council's Innovative Fluorescent
    Lamp Recycling Program www.takebackthelight.ca

    TORONTO, June 18 /CNW/ - Today, the Recycling Council of Ontario, joined
by the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Public Infrastructure
Renewal, unveiled Take Back the Light - Canada's first and only comprehensive
fluorescent lamp recycling program for the industrial, commercial and
institutional (ICI) sector. The program aims to recover and recycle the
30 million fluorescent lamps disposed of yearly across the province - which is
ten times more than today's efforts. In doing so, almost 312 kilograms of
potentially toxic mercury will be properly collected and recycled.
    Funded by the Ministry of the Environment and led by the Recycling
Council of Ontario, Take Back the Light works with both the suppliers and
users of mercury-containing lamps to break down the barriers that have
historically deterred lamp recycling in Ontario.
    "Take Back the Light empowers organizations to recycle their lamps by
simplifying the process and using sheer bulk buying power to get the best
possible price for lamp recycling," says Jo-Anne St. Godard, Executive
Director of the Recycling Council of Ontario. "Participating in the program
makes both environmental and economic sense, especially when the current
reality is that only seven per cent of fluorescent lamps are recycled in this
    The mercury contained in the 30 million lamps disposed of yearly in
Ontario is enough to contaminate a body of water larger than Lake Erie to the
point where its fish would be unfit for consumption. Take Back the Light
ensures that the mercury found in the bulbs is properly contained and reused
so that it does not reach landfills and contaminate the air, water and soil.
While the recovery of mercury is the primary objective of the program, over
eight million kilograms of glass, 100,000 kilograms of metal, and 128,000
kilograms of phosphor will also be reclaimed and available for re-use.
    "This program is good news for our environmental future," said
Environment Minister John Gerretsen. "It's the kind of project we need in
Ontario: one that sees the public and private sectors working together to
create a healthier future; one that considers the benefits of addressing
end-of-life solutions for common products. I'm pleased to have provided
funding for this program, and I'm pleased we're the first participant."
    Take Back the Light is the ideal solution for businesses and institutions
currently using fluorescent lamps, as it provides a cost-effective and
streamlined approach to handling spent fluorescent bulbs and other lighting
waste. Participation is easy. Organizations are invited to register online at
www.takebackthelight.ca. A program administrator will contact the registrant
within 24 hours to provide information about the recycling process and lamp
storage and transportation procedures.
    The Ontario Government is committed to the Take Back the Light program
and is currently implementing facility management operations in all PIR-owned
buildings that will divert 100% of fluorescent bulbs from landfills
immediately. Over the next four years, government-owned and -operated
facilities will be phased in to the program.
    "There are many things businesses and organizations can do to reduce
their eco-footprint," said Minister David Caplan, Ontario Minister of Public
Infrastructure Renewal. "The Government of Ontario will be increasing its
recycling efforts exponentially and is committed to including provincially
owned buildings in the Take Back the Light program."
    Take Back the Light is made possible though seed funding provided by the
Government of Ontario. The program's goal is to responsibly recycle 10 million
lamps disposed of by the industrial, commercial and institutional sector by
2012. For more information please visit www.takebackthelight.ca.

    About Recycling Council of Ontario:

    The Recycling Council of Ontario (RCO) is a not-for-profit,
membership-based organization committed to minimizing society's impact on the
environment by eliminating waste. RCO's mission is to inform and educate all
members of society about the avoidance of waste, efficient use of resources,
and the benefits and/or consequences of these activities. Since its inception
in 1978, RCO has actively assisted municipalities, corporations, other
organizations and individuals in reducing waste.

For further information:

For further information: Stephanie Nadalin, Optimum Public Relations,
stephanie.nadalin@cossette.com, (416) 306-6561

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