Philips Lighting Company was recognized on November 1 by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as the first company in the U.S. to launch a company-wide effort towards meeting the EPA’s National Partnership for Environmental Priorities (NPEP) waste minimization standards.

As a new partner in the national program, Philips Lighting has committed to reducing the amount of mercury used in the manufacturing of their fluorescent lamps by 780 pounds by the end of 2007.  In addition, the company has committed to eliminating the amount of lead in all of their U.S. lamp manufacturing processes by 1.5 million pounds by 2010.

“Philips Lighting has ... [undertaken] waste minimization as a company-wide initiative across all of its production facilities,” said Donald S. Welsh, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regional administrator.

According to the EPA, Philips Lighting reduction in mercury and lead is a cut worthy of national attention since it represents 37 percent of the EPA’s national chemical reduction goal for 2011 for all businesses and companies reporting priority chemicals.

“It only makes sense for us to implement these waste minimization changes across all of our facilities at the same time,” said Steve McGuire, environmental manager, Philips Lighting Company. “As Philips continues to reduce our dependence on both mercury and lead to produce our lighting products, we’ll be using less of these materials in all our plants and will help prevent higher levels of mercury from entering the environment.”

Philips Lighting plans to continue to refine the technology modifications and product designs it first developed in 1995 to further reduce the levels of mercury in their fluorescent lamps and the lead in all its lighting products.  With the changes planned, Philips Lighting will reduce mercury levels particularly in its fluorescent lighting.  The change equates to nearly two tons of mercury reduction in the manufacture of light bulbs over the next five years. Additionally, Philips has committed to reducing the level, and in some cases, completely eliminating all of the lead in the base and glass sleeves of its incandescent bulbs by 2010.

While these reductions will ultimately have a long-term impact on the environment, customers won’t be able to tell a difference in the brightness or quality of the lighting.

“What consumers may notice is that their light bulbs are lasting longer and providing them with energy-efficient savings,” said Steve Goldmacher, director, corporate communications, Philips Lighting Company.

Philips’ efforts have already taken more than 48,500 pounds of mercury out of its lighting products since 1995 and in effect, out of the environment through non-use.