Posts with term TerraCycle Regulated Waste X

TerraCycle’s BulbEater Aids Riley County, KS With HHW Program

Categorized by their regulation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a wide variety of items that require special handling fall under household hazardous waste (HHW). Commonly generated by consumers in small quantities, HHW includes batteries, fluorescent bulbs, electronics, pharmaceuticals, and items considered ignitable, reactive, corrosive or toxic. HHW is regulated on the state and local level due to their federal exclusion under Subtitle C of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and state and community programs collect it for many important benefits, including reducing risks to health and the environment that could result from improper storage or disposal through traditional municipal solid waste (MSW). These items can contaminate the air or groundwater, react or explode in waste compactors, or injure workers when discarded with other trash. Thus, HHW management and storage facilities that accumulate materials for recycling in larger quantities are challenged with minimizing liability, controlling costs, and designing operations that are both efficient and ensure workplace safety. At TerraCycle, we specialize in the recycling of traditionally non-recyclable items and helping businesses reduce waste. With the creation of our Regulated Waste division a few years ago, we’ve been able to help facilities across America improve results, save money, and protect the environment while providing EPA, OSHA, and ACGIH compliance. Learn more in this case study highlighting the use of our Bulb Eater® by the Big Lakes Regional Household Hazardous Waste Program in Riley County, KS.

The Problem

To protect groundwater in the state of Kansas, Riley County was issued the program’s first Household Hazardous Waste permit in 1990. That year, they hosted their first one-day collection event and opened a permanent collection facility. Through expansion over the following years, it would become known as the Big Lakes Regional Household Hazardous Waste Program. One particularly problematic category received by the HHW facility is fluorescent lamps. Fluorescent lamps contain mercury, so it’s illegal in many states to dispose of them in solid waste landfills or through other conventional methods. Kansas highly recommends recycling and requires it at many facilities. Extra care must be taken in handling to avoid incidental breakage and the release of harmful mercury vapors. Lightweight, made of glass, and requiring a large amount of storage space on-site as well as in transport to the recycling facility, each lamp must be packaged in boxes, marked, palletized and shrink-wrapped prior to shipping in order to be properly recycled. In a 2015 HHW statewide report published by the Kansas Department of Health and the Environment, fluorescent lamps represented 12,295 pounds or 7.6% of the amount of waste handled by the state’s HHW collection program.

The Solution

household hazardous waste HHW managers are required to do an annual hazardous waste handling training and a refresher course. During one of these training sessions, Big Lakes’ then-new HHW manager, Steve Oliver, learned about the Bulb Eater. household hazardous wasteBulbEater from TerraCycleThe Bulb Eater technology crushes fluorescent lamps quickly and in a manner that eliminates dust and mercury vapor emissions from spent lamps, reducing handling and labor by up to 20 hours per 1,000 lamps. The lamp residue requires less storage space at a facility and is easier and safer to transport, crushed directly into a standard 55-gallon drum. Oliver knew a Bulb Eater would fit their needs, but would have to apply for a grant first. In order to receive one, Big Lakes officials prepared an audit to capture the potential savings from the use of the Bulb Eater technology, allowing a comprehensive time and cost analysis in support of the grant application; the facility had accumulated over a nearly 12-month period approximately 9,700 lamps of all shapes and sizes. Upon receipt of the grant, Riley County personnel purchased the Bulb Eater 3L model, which allowed them to process straight lamps of any diameter or length, circular and u-bends, and compact fluorescent lamps.

The Results

It took Big Lakes HHW personnel a total of 14.5 hours over the course of four days to complete the task of crushing 9,268 spent lamps, the one-year backlog. The completed project generated nine full drums and one partial drum. Factoring the labor required to package, label, palletize the lamps to prepare them for shipment, and the recycling cost savings of transporting intact lamps versus crushed lamps, county officials estimated savings to be $4,265. The HHW program was supported in part by the use of the Bulb Eater, which aided in the identification of opportunities for other items. For example, the Big Lakes program also received High-Intensity Discharge lamps, which contain a bead of liquid mercury that would contaminate crushed lamps processed in the Bulb Eater, so they cannot be crushed together. However, Big Lakes found these could be managed separately and picked up at collection events or from households and businesses by HHW program personnel at the same time as the crushed lamps, realizing additional savings which are also reflected in the savings noted above. The number of facilities in the Big Lakes Regional Household Hazardous Waste Program have since grown to 45, with 42 satellite locations throughout the state. HHW disposal options are now available for 93 Kansas counties and over 95% of the state’s population, with community access ranging from a permanent year-round collection facility to annual mobile collection events. Importantly, the county charged a recycling fee to bring Universal Waste to their facility and have been able to reduce this user fee by 50% from using the Bulb Eater. The county plans to use the Bulb Eater at all future recycling events, which will enable them to eliminate the need for boxing and storing intact lamps. household hazardous wasteSzaky is Founder and CEO of TerraCycle, a global leader in the collection and repurposing of complex waste streams. TerraCycle operates in 21 countries, working with some of the world’s largest brands, retailers, and manufacturers to create national platforms to recycle products and packaging that currently go to landfill or incineration. TerraCycle’s Regulated Waste division manages the collection and recycling of fluorescent lamps, bulbs, batteries, scrap electronics, organic waste, medical waste, and other materials. The division was formed in November 2017, after TerraCycle’s acquisition of Air Cycle Corporation, which brokered recycling services for fluorescent bulbs and batteries.

Fluorescent Lamp Recycling at Medical Centers

Everyday medical facilities face numerous compliance challenges from federal and local agencies all with an eye on patient and staff safety. As a result, the disposal of something as mundane as lighting, which can vary from room to room and floor to floor, is often overlooked.   While fluorescent lamps, high intensity discharge bulbs (HID) and sodium lighting provide strong, consistent illumination for a number of applications, all of them contain mercury that if allowed to become airborne and enter the environment can be harmful. However, there seems to be some confusion among facility managers and administrators as to what it actually means to properly dispose of mercury-containing bulbs.   Many facilities are not aware that they are breaking the law if they dispose of the bulbs in dumpsters. If discovered, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can levy fines and report violations at facilities that fail to properly dispose of fluorescent lamps properly.   Here we’ll help you assess the needs of your facility, examine available disposal options and weigh the pros and cons of each.   Where to Begin? Assess the Facility Gathering the appropriate information will help managers assess their medical center and determine what type of recycling services are required to properly manage lamp disposal. Below are a series of questions that will help determine your needs.  
  • How many fluorescent lamps are in your facility? Where are they located?
  • How often do you re-lamp?
  • How many fluorescent lamps are you disposing of each month? Each year?
  • What types of fluorescent lamps do you buy? Are they energy-efficient lamps?
  • How are spent lamps handled and stored?
  • Do all employees know what to do if a fluorescent lamp burns out or breaks?
  • Is the organization in compliance with all hazardous-waste regulations?
  Select a Recycler There are numerous lamp-recycling companies that operate in the United States, but as with any other service, they are not all created equal. Facility managers are encouraged to audit the vendors under consideration to verify that their permits, recycling technologies, transportation operations and bookkeeping practices meet all state and federal regulations.   Additionally, some recyclers manage other universal waste streams, such as batteries, electronics and medical waste, so be sure to ask the vendors about any other services they provide in the event you can combine recycling contracts.   Best Practices When lighting burns out or is replaced in a lighting system retrofit, facility managers typically have three options for recycling them: mail-in boxes or containers, a pickup of intact lamps in bulk quantity, or crushing lamps for storage and eventual pickup.   Mail-In Boxes The mail-in box option offers facilities the flexibility to mail small quantities of spent bulbs in EPA-compliant boxes to material recovery facilities for processing. While containers will vary widely, many utilize a combination of cardboard to hold the lamps and a plastic liner to contain mercury vapor in the event of breakage.   While probably the most common method of recycling lamps, the mail-in box can be contracted through recycling providers such as TerraCycle Regulated Waste, Waste Management and Veolia. Simply order a container, fill it with spent lamps and ship it to the designated recycling center using the included prepaid mailing label.   However, it is important to note that this option is intended for facilities that are less than 150,000 square feet and might not meet the needs for large producers of lighting waste.   Bulk Pick-Up of Intact Lamps Facilities over 150,000 square feet in size with ample storage space might want to consider bulk pickup of intact lamps. This option requires facilities to retain spent lamps until they have accumulated enough to fill a truck, at which time they arrange for bulk pickup and disposal.   While a viable solution, and a service that is available through recycling providers like the companies mentioned above, a few key limitations should be considered. The EPA enforces a one-year legal limit on accumulation of universal waste which starts at the time the spent bulb is removed from the lighting fixture. So, if it takes a period longer than a year to accumulate the required amount of waste to warrant the cost of a bulk pick-up another solution should be considered.   Additionally, storage of the lighting waste for an extended period significantly increases the odds of an accidental mercury release and potential exposure to facility occupants and staff. Lastly, this option requires a large amount of space to warehouse the spent lighting – space that might be better utilized though therapeutic or administrative purposes.   Lamp Crushing A lamp crushing machine quickly and efficiently crushes linear bulbs while separating the mercury and segregating the aluminum fixtures, glass tubing and other materials, allowing them to be reclaimed for reuse. This option is the ideal solution for facilities over 150,000 square feet and those that produce large amounts of lighting waste but do not have ample space to store it.   By compacting spent lamps with a lamp crusher, facility managers significantly reduce the labor associated with the proper packaging of the waste in advance of shipping or bulk pick-up, minimize recycling costs and eliminate the storage space required from warehousing the spent bulbs.   Leveraging a Facility Lamp Recycling Program Many facility managers hear the word “sustainability” and immediately think it means an extra cost to them. However, investing in responsible disposal and recycling practices ultimately cuts overall costs, improves employee safety and keeps the facility EPA compliant. With healthcare inherently scrutinized by EPA inspectors, it makes good sense to incorporate a proactive fluorescent lamp disposal plan and minimize the mercury risk that fluorescent lighting poses to an efficient, safe workplace and a safe environment.   Bobby Farris is General Manager at TerraCycle Regulated Waste.  

Battery Recycling 101

In today’s world, everything runs on batteries. They’re in things we use every day. Inevitably though, they run out of power and the age-old question comes up – what do you do with your spent batteries? In the past they ended up in a junk drawer, an old coffee can in the garage, or even in the trash. But, you can recycle batteries with a few extra precautions.

TerraCycle Regulated Waste provides four tips for recycling dry cell batteries

2.)  Store batteries in a cool, dry place - Batteries and inclement weather don't mix. Always store used batteries in a plastic container like the EasyPak™ Battery Recycling Container from TerraCycle Regulated Waste that will keep them cool and dry. Batteries left exposed to extreme heat for long periods of time can deform, leak or even explode.

Battery Recycling 101

TRENTON, N.J., : In today’s world, everything runs on batteries. They’re in things we use every day. Inevitably though, they run out of power and the age-old question comes up – what do you do with your spent batteries? In the past they ended up in a junk drawer, an old coffee can in the garage, or even in the trash. But, you can recycle batteries with a few extra precautions? Here are four tips to safely handle and recycle your “dead” batteries:

Look For The Certificate Of Recycling

Recycling hazardous waste like fluorescent light bulbs isn’t just for progressive organizations; for many materials it is required by law. But how does an organization prove to their customers and enforcement agencies that they are in compliance? A Certificate of Recycling from a reputable waste handler is the answer. In simple terms, a certificate of recycling documents the amount and type of waste that is recycled by an organization and is proof that your organization is compliant with the standards set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

New recycling "seal of approval"

Terracycle recycles "nonrecyclable" waste in 20 countries. In simple terms, a certificate of recycling documents the amount and type of waste that is recycled by an organization and is proof that your company is compliant with the standards set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). While valuable, the benefit to your company doesn’t stop with government compliance.