TCP Inc has begun offering a compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) recycling program to retailers, municipalities and schools that will make it easier for consumers to dispose of the energy-efficient light bulbs. According to TCP, it manufactures nearly 70 percent of the CFLs in the U.S. market through a variety of name-brand, private-label and other lighting manufacturers.

“All CFLs must contain small amounts of mercury in order to glow and give light. Even with the trace amounts of mercury, which is roughly equivalent to the tip of a ballpoint pen, they should be recycled,” said Ellis Yan, president and CEO, TCP Inc. “The recycling program we have developed makes it easy for consumers to drop off a CFL at a retailer, city hall or even their children’s school and feel confident that they have made the best possible choice for lighting their homes and helping the environment.”

Consumers who want to recycle a CFL will be directed to a Recyclepak return box at a designated drop-off location. The consumer will take an individual collection bag from the recycle display, put the CFL in the bag and seal it. The bag then will be placed in the Recyclepak return box and shipped to an environmental services company that recycles CFLs.

People should be aware this recycling program does not admit a weakness in CFL bulbs versus incandescent. A CFL uses 75 percent less energy than an incandescent light bulb and lasts at least six times longer. A power plant will emit 10 milligrams of mercury to produce the electricity to run an incandescent bulb compared to only 2.4 milligrams of mercury to run a CFL for the same time.

Regardless, CFL sales have skyrocketed. According to TCP, the company has increased sales more than fivefold since 2000, and it manufactures 800,000 CFLs every day. It anticipates it will have to produce 1 million CFLs per day by the end of 2007.   EC