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  • Standard Operating Guideline # SG-7

    Fluorescent Lamp Recycling Program

    Office of Environmental Health and

    Occupational Safety

    201 High Street Farmville, VA 23909


    Revised: July 2014


    Version July 2014 Page 2

    Office of Environmental Health and Occupational Safety

    Fluorescent Lamp Recycling Program

    I. PURPOSE It is the purpose of Longwood University to provide environmentally sound solutions to our waste disposal need. The fluorescent lamp recycling program was designed to properly and most efficiently dispose of the fluorescent tube lamps used for lighting our buildings. Longwood University has a Bulb Eater Fluorescent Lamp Crushing System from Air Cycle Corporation. The system was designed to crush the lamp tubes and end caps in a manner that contains the trace mercury used in fluorescent lamps, reduces the waste into a compact form for disposal and introduces the crushed bulb waste into Longwood University’s established waste stream and Universal Waste. II. RESPONSIBILITY FOR COMPLIANCE

    A. The Office of Environmental Health and Occupational Safety (OEHS) will be responsible for the following:

    1. Provide assistance in the development of specific guidelines pertaining to the

    operation and maintenance of fluorescent lamp recycling program.

    2. Implementing a training program based on the general principles of utilizing the Bulb Eater®, recycling fluorescent lamps, and hazards associated with the process.

    3. Coordinating the training and performance testing of operators of the Crushing


    4. Maintaining the training certification records and performance tests of employees included in the training sessions.

    5. Periodically reviewing the effectiveness of the program.

    B. Managers and supervisors are responsible for:

    1. Ensuring that designated employees who operate the Crushing System equipment in their departments have received appropriate training.

    2. Providing observations and feedback to operators to ensure safe equipment



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    Office of Environmental Health and Occupational Safety

    3. Recognizing the hazards associated with fluorescent lamp handling and the need

    for proper disposal.

    C. The Bulb Eater® operator is responsible for:

    1. Operating the Crushing System in a safe manner.

    2. Inspecting the Crushing System at the beginning, during, and at the end of each work shift and completing the appropriate inspection forms if required.

    3. Reporting equipment defects and/or maintenance needs to their supervisors



    The following terms are associated with the design, type and use of powered industrial trucks:

    A. Bulb Eater® (Model 55 VRS-U Premium) Is a machine designed to crush fluorescent lamp tubes and their constituent parts.

    B. Environmental Health and Occupational Safety (EHS)

    Provides comprehensive and standardized environmental health and occupational safety

    systems, processes, and services to Longwood University.

    C. Fluorescent Lamp

    Is a gas-discharge lamp that uses electricity to excite mercury vapor in argon or neon gas,

    resulting in a plasma that produces short-wave ultraviolet light. This light then caused a

    phosphor to fluoresce, producing visible light.

    D. Fluorescent Lamp Tube

    For the purposes of this program include T12 lamps of both four and eight foot lengths,

    T8 lamps, and U-shaped lamps.

    E. Mercury

    Mercury is an element in the earth’s crust. Humans cannot create or destroy mercury.

    Pure mercury is a liquid metal, sometimes referred to as quicksilver that volatiles readily.

    It has traditionally been used to make products like thermometers, switches, and some

    light bulbs. Mercury exposure at high levels can harm the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs,

    and immune system of all ages.


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    Office of Environmental Health and Occupational Safety

    F. Universal Waste

    Universal Waste (UW) is a general descriptive term used to describe wastes that are

    generated by a large, diverse population. The universal waste rule categorizes wastes

    covered under this rule into three categories: Unused Pesticides; Mercury containing

    thermostats (Virginia includes fluorescent lamps in this category); and Spent Batteries.

    The UWR is intended to promote recycling as well as the proper disposal of wastes, if

    recycling is not a viable option by easing certain regulatory requirements.

    IV. Fluorescent Lamp Collection and Crushing Operation

    The following guidelines help to ensure that all faculty, staff, and contractors (employee) properly handle and dispose of fluorescent tube lamps at Longwood University.

    A. Collection: 1. Once a fluorescent lamp has been deemed to need replacing, employees shall

    remove the lamp from the fixture and place into an appropriately sized lamp

    box equivalent to the lamp being replaced to reduce the possibility of

    inadvertent lamp breakage during transportation from the use location to the

    bulb crushing room. Label this box to indicate that the lamps are no longer

    usable. Do not mix usable lamps with non-usable in the same box or place

    different size lamps in the same box.

    2. Once the lamp box has been filled to a level that meets the capacity of the

    box or the job has been completed with a partially filled box, employees shall

    transport the box to room G19 of the Chichester Science Center.

    B. Crushing:

    1. Wear safety glasses, hearing protection, and protective gloves at all times while the machine is in operation.

    2. Screw in the appropriated entry tube (T8 or T12) or the U-Tube removable chute. It is important to use the appropriate entry tube to minimize outside lamp breakage. T8 entry tubes are used for T8 lamps which are 1 inch in diameter. T12 entry tubes are used for T12 lamps which are 1.5 inches in diameter. The U-Tube removable Chute is used for U-Tube lamps. Note: the plastic banding on the U-Tube must be removed prior to lamp crushing.


    Version July 2014 Page 5

    Office of Environmental Health and Occupational Safety

    3. Once the appropriate entry tube is screwed into the drum lid, remove the rubber plug from the top of the entry tube and turn on the machine. The switch is located on the control panel.

    4. Once the system is running, place hand over the lamp entry tube to check for suction (i.e. negative pressure). If you do not feel suction on your hand, turn off the machine and contact the Director of Laboratory Services at 434.395.2471. Low pressure normally indicates that a filter, located in the blue case is full and needs to be changed. Filter replacement for the Bulb Eater® Filter Change can be found under the maintenance section.

    5. Once you have determined that the drum is under negative pressure, you can now safely crush dry fluorescent lamps. Do NOT crush any wet lamps. Note: Lamps that have been stored outside need to dry before crushing.

    6. Line the fluorescent lamp up over the entry tube and allow roughly 3 inches of the lamp to enter the tube. Let the vacuum pull the lamp into the drum. Do NOT force the lamp down the entry tube. Should the lamp become wedged while entering the drum through the entry tube, simply grab the remaining lamp tube, pull the tube up an inch or two, and then release the tube. This will dislodge the jam and the tube should fall the rest of the way into the drum. Occasionally you may need a supplied wooden stick to clear a jam.

    7. Do NOT crush more than 350 Bulbs per month per employee. This will help insure that OHSA Safety Standards are met

    8. After crushing, let the machine sit “off” for at least 15 minutes after the purge cycle is done to allow dust to settle before opening the lid (if you plan on removing the crushing apparatus from the drum for any reason). Otherwise, simply seal the top of the entry tube with the rubber plug once the purge cycle is complete. When the machine is not in use, make sure that all openings are sealed.

    9. When drum becomes full, contact Longwood University’s Director of Laboratory Services (434.395.2471) for drum replacement


    Version July 2014 Page 6

    Office of Environmental Health and Occupational Safety

    V. EQUIPMENT INSPECTION AND MAINTENANCE Confirm that the Bulb Eater® is clearly “off” and not operating.

    The operator must wear the following personal protective equipment when changing any of the two Bulb Eater® filters

    • Safety glasses or protective goggles • Gloves (latex or nitrile)

    ** Note that spent filters must never be unattended. Spent filters must either remain in the blue filter case attached to the unit, be sealed in the drum of crushed laps, or bagged (i.e. Ziploc) to avoid mercury release. DO NOT DISPOSE OF FILTERS IN THE TRASH**

    A. Bulb Eater® Filter Change and Spinner Change Replacement Table


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