Sunday, April 13, 2008

Eco Lights and Recycling

an eco-bulb First, I got this from Ruscombe Green. There is now a dimmable eco bulb, launched by Greenpeace last September, I missed that one. I’ve just replaced my son's dimmer switches with normal switches, ah well.

I have had quite a few visits to this blog searching for information on Mercury in eco bulbs and recycling, so here we go.

Eco bulbs do contain a small amount of Mercury as the BBC reports here on “Low-energy bulb disposal warning”. Official advice from the Department of the Environment states that if a low-energy bulb is smashed, the room needs to be vacated for at least 15 minutes. But a toxicologist has played down the risks, saying several bulbs would have to be smashed at once to pose a danger.

It all sounds a bit OTT Elf n’ Safety to me, I’ve probably got more mercury in my teeth fillings than there is in an eco-bulb. But if you are worried then do follow the advice. Incidentally, when my Dad had his boiler replaced the room looked like something out of E.T. It was sealed with an air-lock entrance and the contractors were all suited, booted and masked. Because the old boiler contained one half inch gasket that had asbestos in it. I digress.

Recycling: you really should not put eco-bulbs out with normal household rubbish. Nor domestic batteries, printer ink cartridges, old video tapes, broken mobile phones etc etc. But what to do? You can’t put them in your recycling box.

However, there are excellent recycling facilities for all these items at the Chigwell Road Recyling and Reclamation Centre [Jenkins Lane in Newham if you live in the south of the Borough, we are allowed to use that one because we are part of the East London Waste Authority].

Now I don’t expect you to nip up to Chigwell Road every time you’ve got a dead eco-bulb or AA battery. I have a cardboard box in the garage where these things are stored until I have enough material to warrant a visit. When I say material I mean mostly cardboard which mounts up quite rapidly.


  1. I'm always so dismayed at how quickly our cardboard bag gets full. I wish Redbridge woul pick it up - or at least put some collection points on the high streets.

    Actually I wish people would stop overpackaging...

  2. Yes FIG. And that's without all the products that have migrated from cardboard packaging to shrink wrapped plastic packaging where you need a Kango to open the bloody thing.
    AND it's not recyclable!

  3. But what about all the people who live in flats or maisonettes, without garages to store waste materials, or who don't have a one of those nasty horrible 'cars' to transport the rubbish to Chigwell Rd or wherever?

  4. That is not an excuse for those who can, not to. It is also an opportunity for those who can to assist those who can’t. When my Dad was alive I brought his recycling home every time I visited. My wife did the same with her mother.
    I know of one Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator who is trying to organise a rota of car owners to assist those who don’t for such materials.

  5. I know this is not strictly related to recycling but, being this site being Barkingside 21, and having slightly more elastic threads, this might be accepted!
    I feel really peeved because I am going to bag the massive amounts of street litter which collect on the allotments. And the bags are plastic! The rubbish collected is not pleasant to handle and putting it in paper bags would not work. Any helpful comments?

  6. Thanks B21 for prompt answer but, ... I have heard that biodegradable plastic is even worse than non bio because it simply desintegrates in very small particles which can find their way anywhere and even be airborne!
    Can you comment?

  7. No, I'm not an expert. But when I get a mo, I will look into it.

  8. Gants Hill Birdwatcher1:10 am, May 06, 2008

    You can also take your used batteries to a well known store (which sells TVs, fridges, washing machines, etc) on Horn Lane next to a well known toy store. I have also taken used printer cartridges there, especially the ones that charities can't recycle. However, if you want to recycle mobile phones and printer cartridges, try this website: